Saline Area Schools 4 Cs

The 4 Cs consist of communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. The dark blue compass points identify 4 primary skills that we want all of our Saline Area Schools' students to demonstrate proficiency in by the time they graduate.


Students are learning to communicate clearly by communicating for a range of purposes and range of purposes and range of environments, listen effectively to comprehend meaning, articulate thoughts through oral, non-verbal and written communication, and use media and technologies and know how to judge their effectiveness and impact.

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Creativity & Innovation

Students are learning to think creatively by using creation techniques, creating new ideas, opportunities to be curious and imaginative, and elaborate, refine, analyze and evaluate ideas to develop them creatively. Students are learning to work creatively with others by being open and responsive to new ideas and perspectives, view failure as an opportunity to learn, show inventiveness and originality in their work and develop, implement and communicate new ideas with others.

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Students are learning to collaborate with others by working respectfully and effectively in diverse groups, being flexible and willing to work together towards a common goal and accept shared responsibility for collaborative work and value the unique contributions of each member.

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Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Students are learning to reason effectively, use systems thinking, make judgements and decisions based off of analysis, synthesis, evaluation and reflection, ask questions that lead to better solutions and solve problems in conventional and creative ways.

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4 Cs Rubrics

Rubrics are used as a tool for teachers as they prepare rigorous and assess how students are growing in their application of these four important traits.

Example Rubrics for K-12

4Cs In Depth (National Education Association)

Classroom Environment

To support the 4 Cs work, it is important to create the proper conditions for students to be successful. The light blue compass points represent the importance of building "Community" to understand the 4 Cs, creating appropriate "Learning Spaces" that support the 4 Cs, adjusting the instructional "Pedagogy" to teach the 4 Cs, and providing proper "Tech Integration" to leverage the tools needing to support 4 Cs learning.


Through the touch of a button in today's technology, students have access to endless information. This new generation of students pose a special challenge to the purpose, methods and structures of the current educational system. In order to build 21st century skills and a passion for lifelong learning, a few key pedagogical beliefs are the foundation of a Next-Gen Classroom:

  • Teacher as the facilitator of the learning experience.
  • Student as an active, self-directed learner capable of accessing knowledge and developing valuable ideas.

Learning Spaces

In order to achieve an environment where deeper, authentic and more engaging learning is taking place, the traditional classroom layout is redefined in Next-Gen classrooms. In supporting the 4Cs of collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity, our learning spaces have been redesigned to include:

  • Open learning spaces (moveable walls for co-teaching)
  • Learning zones
  • Collaboration stations
  • Non-traditional desks/tables
  • No "front" of the classroom
  • Variety of table and seating heights: low level, traditional and bar height
  • Variety of comfortable seating types: conversation chairs, traditional chairs and soft seating
  • Flexible furniture that can be placed in a variety of configurations


Our students’ community is comprised of Saline Area Schools and the surrounding community, such as the City of Saline and Washtenaw County. Partnerships within our community help connect our classroom work to our greater world. Partnerships we already have:

  • Foundation for Saline Area Schools
  • 5th Corner Teen Center
  • Saline Recreation Center
  • Booster and Alumni Groups
  • Parent Teacher Organizations
  • Community Based Work Sites (Michigan Ave)
  • Food Gatherers
  • Saline Social Services
  • Kiwanis
  • Senior Center
  • Linden Square/Brecon Village
  • Police and Fire Departments

Tech Integration

Next-Gen classrooms support a mixed and multi- media approach so that students are able to access digital content anytime, anywhere, on any device and at any pace. The tools currently supporting the teaching and learning process in Next-Gen classrooms include:

  • iPad Minis
  • eSpark personalized learning program
  • Smartboard
  • BYOD Policy
  • Apple TV
  • Multiple TVs
  • Chromebooks
  • Enterprise wireless and business class internet
  • Google Drive/Docs, Gmail and web filter

Student Attributes

The student attributes are designed to integrate 8 essential skills to support 4 Cs instruction.  These yellow visuals surrounding the compass points support a more detailed look at the specific actions that we want our students to take in order to be successful in implementing the 4 Cs and future life endeavors.

Collaborative Leader

Students are demonstrating collaborative leadership when they work in pairs or groups to discuss an issue, seek varying perspectives to resolve a problem, and/or create a product.

  • Students will:
    • Students will work collaboratively in pairs, small groups, and whole groups.
    • Students will respect each other's ideas, work, and property.
    • Students will identify evidence of varying perspectives relating to an issue.
    • Students will explain the reasoning for varying perspectives relating to an issue.

Ethical and Responsible Citizen

Students are ethical and responsible citizens when they see beyond themselves to the needs of others, contribute to their community, promote social justice, take responsibility for the environment, and demonstrate respect, empathy and compassion.

  • Students will:
    • Students will take responsibility for their own actions and behaviors.
    • Students will take a role in caring for their classroom, school, community, and global environment.
    • Students will positively contribute to the lives of others and demonstrate an understanding of social justice.
    • Students will demonstrate empathy for differences in their peers and their communities.

Creative Innovator

Students are demonstrating creativity when they define and develop and/or revise innovative ideas with attention to originality.

  • Students will:
    • Students will be able to brainstorm new ideas to solve problems.
    • Students will ask questions and respectfully consider everyone’s perspective.
    • Students will use ingenuity and imagination when shaping new ideas.
    • Students will demonstrate the confidence to take risks when solving problems.

Complex Thinker and Problem Solver

Students are complex thinkers and problem solvers when they systematically go beyond knowledge reproduction to analyze, synthesize, evaluate, or organize information in ways that generate new and deeper understandings.

  • Students will:
    • Students will will generate and use questions to expand their thinking.
    • Students will analyze the pros and cons of potential outcomes to determine the best solution.
    • Students will implement a variety of approaches to solve problems.
    • Students will accept and learn from failure.

Positive Communicator

Students are communicating skillfully when they connect and share ideas and choose the right medium(s) to express their thoughts. Students are communicating successfully when they resolve controversy and conflict through positive negotiation.

  • Students will:
    • Students will communicate effectively through a variety of tools (digital, verbal, written) specific to their intended audience.
    • Students will communicate their viewpoints respectfully and appreciate the viewpoints of others.
    • Students will resolve controversy and conflict through positive communication strategies.
    • Students will engage in actively listening in order to grow ideas.

Financially and Digitally Literate

Students are financially literate when they can identify and connect personal financial planning and manage both internal and external financial challenges.

Students are digitally literate when they work fluidly between technological platforms/mediums and move from consumers to producers of knowledge and content.  

  • Students will:
    • Students will consider the implications of their financial decisions.
    • Students will evaluate the cause and effect of the use of local and global resources.
    • Students will seek trustworthy information to actively enhance their learning.
    • Students will make responsible choices regarding their digital footprint.

Globally Connected

Students are globally connected when they demonstrate their understanding of the complexities of cultures and global issues, see viewpoints beyond their own, and positively impact and connect to the world around them.

  • Students will:
    • Students will understand multiple viewpoints based on current and past social issues.
    • Students will apply multiple viewpoints to explore the similarities and differences of many cultures.
    • Students will analyze how actions have impacted their community, country, and world.
    • Students will demonstrate respect, empathy, and appreciation when working with a global audience.

Motivated and Self-directed

Students are motivated and self-directed when they choose an element of the content, product, and/or process for their learning and when they recognize purpose enabling them to set, monitor, and take ownership of their own learning goals.

  • Students will:
    • Students will set learning goals and initiate learning.
    • Students will self-assess, self-advocate, and reflect.
    • Students will persevere through learning tasks.
    • Students will utilize mindfulness practices.