What is the Luminaries recognition? 

The Luminaries by Battelle for Kids recognizes, celebrates, and highlights school systems bringing 21st century learning to life for their students. 

Becoming a 21st century education system is a journey. None of us are completely there, and no two school systems are on the exact same path. 

Through the Luminaries recognition, we will all be able to study and learn from the different approaches school systems across the country are taking to realize the power and promise of 21st century learning for every student. 


What are the six essential components of a 21st century educational system? 



  • Visionary Leadership – Establishes a unifying vision for the community’s shared aspiration for all students – a 21st century vision that is locally developed, but globally positioned. 

  • Caring, Responsive Culture - Nurtures a welcoming, inclusive environment, values diverse perspectives, and cultivates engagement across a safe school community. 

  • Empowered Workforce - Elevates all staff in service of students with human capital systems that attract, grow, and retain innovative talent equipped to realize the districts’ 21st century vision. 

  • 21st Century Learning Design - Purposefully integrates rigorous academic content with experiences that intentionally cultivate skills, mindsets, and literacies essential for all students to become lifelong learners and contributors in the 21st century. 

  • Thriving Ecosystem - Fosters a high functioning, interdependent network, including the broader community, ensuring alignment to the district’s 21st century vision. 

  • Measurable Impact and Stewardship - Leverages meaningful evidence to demonstrate progress, inform continuous improvement, and elevate confidence in the impact of the system to prepare graduates as lifelong learners and contributors in the 21st century. 



Who should apply? 

Any US school system leading the way in 21st century learning should apply and can be recognized as a Luminary.   

We are looking for systems with clear strategies for system-wide scaling of 21st century learning for every student, as well as evidence such strategies are being implemented. 

If you have a vision for what 21st century learning will look like in your school system, a strategy to realize this vision, and evidence that you’ve begun executing on key aspects of that strategy, you should probably apply… or at least start the application process so you can make a more informed decision.  


Can we be selected as Luminaries if we have not yet fully scaled 21st century learning across our entire school system?  

Yes, your school system can apply even if you haven’t yet scaled 21st century learning across your entire system. Additionally, you do not need to have strong scores in all 6 components of a 21st century learning system to be recognized as a Luminary.  

We know that transforming school systems to support 21st century student outcomes is a complex journey. We want to highlight school systems who are on the journey and have demonstrated significant progress.  

The Luminaries will likely include school systems at various points along the pathway to realizing the power and promise of 21st century learning for every student. 

If you think your school system has established conditions, processes, and practices that have created or will create equitable and enduring 21st century experiences for educators and students, we encourage you to apply.  


Why should our system apply? 

Those school systems recognized as Luminaries will receive the following:

Recognition as a Shining Example of a 21st Century School System

  • Celebration at the Battelle for Kids EdLeader21 Annual Event 2020  
        (Orlando, FL; September 29 – October 1, 2020) 
  • Inclusion in Battelle for Kids communications on Luminaries 
  • Profile Pieces on Battelle for Kids Website 
  • Highlighted through Battelle for Kids Social Media and Other Marketing Channels 
  • Battelle for Kids National and Regional Media Releases 
  • Visual designation (physical and digital) for display at district offices and throughout the system 
  • Communication Toolkit to enable promotional communication by the school system 

1 Free Year of Membership in the Battelle for Kids EdLeader21 National Network 

  • Vibrant network of innovative education leaders dedicated to 21st century learning 
  • Access to robust resources to help further define and deliver on 21st century learning across the school system 
  • Free registrations to the Battelle for Kids EdLeader21 Annual Event 2020
    • 700+ innovative education leaders learning with and from one another to advance 21st century learning for every student 
    • 2 free attendees
    • Reduced pricing for all other attendees

Opportunities to Help Accelerate 21st Century Learning Across the Country by Sharing Your Story, including… 

  • Showcase opportunities at the Battelle for Kids EdLeader21 Annual Event 2020
    • Portrait to Practice Fair 
    • Panel Participation 
    • Breakout Sessions 
  • Host learning site visits in your school system 
  • Cohost or be a guest on webinars
  • Author or coauthor blog post 
  • Guest on EdSpark21 podcast 
  • Co-Presenting at National or Regional Conference

Can an individual school apply? 

At Battelle for Kids, we have found that for true transformation of the educational experience to occur and be sustainable—and for equitable education to be offered to all students—the work must be scalable across the entire school system. For this reason, the Luminaries recognition highlights and celebrates school systems that are realizing the power and promise of 21st century education for all students. Most of the time, that requires the Luminary to be a school district or similar public or private school system. In some instances, however, a school system might consist of a single school. In such a case, a school is eligible for recognition. However, if the school is part of a larger system, as is most often the case, the entire system must apply together as one applicant.


What does the application entail? 

You will submit an online application with eight pages.

  • The first page is to collect some information about your school system, including an overview of your system’s 21st century learning journey.
  • The next six pages allow you to provide details about your school system’s progress on the six components of a 21st century system.
  • The last page gives you the chance to tell the story of your school system’s progress in scaling 21st century learning across the system (including any details we might not have asked) and includes leadership confirmation before submitting your application.

When sharing your school system’s progress on the key components of 21st century learning, you will be asked to do four things.

1. Indicate your system’s level of implementation of that specific component of 21st century learning.

  • Not yet: The system has yet to undertake this component.
  • Planning: The system is undertaking an initial level of study, involving discussion, priority determination, and strategic planning.
  • Building: The system is beginning the change management process. Plans are being activated, results monitored, and adjustments made.
  • Transforming: The system is implementing strategies to scale, sustain, and impact every student across the system. 

2. Rate on a scale of 1-5 your system with regards to specific criteria of that component.

  • 1 being that the system has not yet begun addressing this criterium
  • 5 being that the criterium is an area of strength for the system

3. Provide written descriptions and examples to support your responses on steps 1 and 2 of that page.

4. Upload supporting documentation or evidence

A Microsoft Word version of the application is available to download for review, but cannot be submitted as your application. The online application is required. 


Can I save my application and return later? 

You can save progress at any time in the application process by clicking <save progress> at the bottom of the page. The first time you save progress, you will be asked to create an account. When returning to the application, you will need to sign back in to access your incomplete application.  


Is there a limit to how many supporting documents can be submitted with our application? 

All supporting documentation and materials must be referenced in the narrative of this application and should not exceed a total of 30 pages. Supporting videos will count as 1 page towards your cumulative total. 

If you have additional questions, please contact