The Communicator on 21st Century Learning | Fall 2020

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At Battelle for Kids, we hold ourselves accountable to our vision—where all students experience a high quality, 21st century education that prepares them for success now and into the future. Our ability to positively impact the lives of students is through strong partnerships with districts who share this important vision.  

In this edition of The Communicator on 21st Century Learning, we feature our 2020 Annual Report, showcasing innovative school systems from across the country—boldly advancing deeper learning for every student.  We are grateful for the opportunity to work with these transformational education leaders. 

The global health pandemic continues to cause significant disruption to education, creating heightened awareness of the pronounced challenges to achieving education equity. It is also ushering in a new appreciation for why every student must be equipped with 21st century skills and mindsets that empower them to navigate a complex, ever-changing world. We are inspired by the relentless pursuit of equity in deeper learning we observe as we work alongside future-focused school systems. 

In this edition, you’ll also find resources to support you through these uncertain times. Don’t miss our Conversation and Action Guide for 21st Century Education Leaders with discussion questions to assess your system’s readiness to meet the unique needs of today’s learners.   

Finally, this is an exciting week at Battelle for Kids as we prepare for next week’s Annual Event with our EdLeader21 Network. We look forward to engaging with our network members in this virtual event, as we bring together like-minded education leaders representing more than 30 states from across the country to network, share ideas, and plan for the future of education.   

I hope you find inspiration during these challenging times as you read this edition of The Communicator on 21st Century Learning! 
Battelle for Kids is honored to support districts finding innovative ways during a pandemic to connect with their community to discuss the hopes, dreams, and aspirations for their students... 
"Our Portrait of a Graduate has always served as our North Star but it has become more front and center as the adults in the system are using these skills to solve the problems before us."

Michael McCormick | Superintendent, Val Verde Unified School District 
“Our division is taking a highly collaborative approach in creating its new strategic plan. We are engaging a diverse group of community members to develop a Portrait of a Graduate that includes points of view that often have been underrepresented in such efforts.” 

Dr. Patrick McLaughlin | Chief of Strategic Planning, Albemarle County Public Schools 
“I cannot imagine a more appropriate time in modern history to reflect and reimagine our vision. Thanks to our students, hearing your input makes my heart full.” 

Dr. Matthew Montgomery Superintendent, Revere Local Schools 

Your District. Your Community. Your Students.
Your Strategic Plan.


Advancing 21st Century Education 

This week we release our Annual Report which captures the bold work of innovative school systems, and we’re excited to partner with them and share their stories to inspire others to action. 


Making 21st Century Education a Reality for Every Student

How has your school system responded in these times as a relevant, resilient 21st century education system? We’ve captured fundamental questions to guide discussions and assess the system’s readiness to respond to the unique needs of today’s learners. As you engage around these questions, we invite you to be curious, inclusive, and courageous. We hope these conversations leave you inspired and optimistic for what can be accomplished together, resulting in a better tomorrow for every student, everywhere! 

Building Hope for the Future of Public Education 

“Insights from education system leaders reveal that if we emerge from this crisis, only to restore the status quo, we’ve missed a grand opportunity. Throughout history, the world’s greatest leaders have brought hope in times of despair. They have helped people see a better future, to imagine tomorrow’s solutions for today’s problems. Will our public education system become responsive, not to our past, but to our children’s future?” 

Jamie Meade | Chief of Staff, Battelle for Kids


Unifying the District and Broader Community through a Portrait of a Graduate

Stay tuned this year for more of our upcoming EdSpark21 podcasts where we talk with educators and experts leading the way in 21st century learning! Until then, catch up on our series, including a conversation with Michael McCormick, superintendent at Val Verde Unified School District (CA), about how their Portrait of a Graduate became the North Star to realizing a 21st century education for every student.

Shining a Light on 4 Big Assessment Ideas 

“One thing that is more important than ever in our current COVID-19 context: getting clear about the purpose of the assessment data we’re collecting. When time is precious and distributed learning environments are the norm, we must think differently about our approach to assessment.”  

Shannon King, Ph.D. | Chief Innovation Officer, Battelle for Kids


Equip and empower educators to assess 21st century skills and mindsets.


Upcoming Events 

EdLeader21 is the national network of Battelle for Kids, connecting a powerful network of school systems across the nation committed to 21st century learning for every student. 

Join us October 13-14 for an engaging experience that brings together like-minded education leaders from across the country to network, share ideas, learn from each other, and plan for the future. 

The Annual Event is free this year for network members. Not a member? Contact Jill at to learn more and join. 

When you register for the National Forum to Advance Rural Education (NFARE), you are investing in the collective success of rural communities. This is your opportunity to connect with rural education leaders, practitioners, and researchers to bring 21st century learning to life for all rural students.  

Together, we'll explore innovative approaches to essential rural education challenges including building equitable schools, empowering educators, and strengthening school and community partnerships. 

Let Us Know How We Can Help 

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