Practice and Policy Briefs

In 2022, Scaling Student Success established The Reimagining CA Schools Innovation Pilot, a collaborative effort among school districts on a journey to realize their Graduate Profiles, eager to go deeper for greater impact on student experience, learner outcomes, and systems change. The pilot was designed to establish proof points to demonstrate the power and potential of a Graduate Profile to drive transformational change and create greater equity in California’s education system.

Over the past year, the five districts in the Innovation Pilot —  Anaheim UHSD, Cajon Valley USD, Davis JUSD, Lindsay USD, and Vista USD — have opened their doors to share their learnings on their path to moving their Graduate Profiles from “poster to practice.” We have captured their stories, insights, and lessons in a series of four Practice & Policy Briefs, combined with a case study of Lindsay USD published by NGLC, all featured below. 

In capturing and publishing these stories, we hope to:

  • Embolden school district leaders to pursue a similar vision and path
  • Entice policymakers and funders to incentivize these efforts
  • Encourage state educational agencies and associations to join the movement. 

 Please help us share them widely!


Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD)

In 2011, at Savannah High School on AUHSD’s west side, teachers and school leaders frustrated by test-focused instruction initiated a community-wide process to redefine student success in the district. This evolved years later to the district-wide adoption of the “5 Cs” (Graduate Profile). Today, the district’s Career Preparedness Systems Framework and its 5 Cs are deeply embedded in classroom practice in several ways, with a particular focus on cultivating student voice.

Read the Full Brief from AUHSD:

Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD)

In 2013, Dr. David Miyashiro became superintendent of CVUSD and began the district on a journey of profound change. Based on feedback from the community that educators seemed to discredit skilled-trade jobs and professions that did not require a college degree, Dr. Miyashiro championed the creation of “The World of Work,” a K-8 curriculum that helps students learn their strengths, interests and values, and how those might apply to different careers. This paved the way for the development, approval, and implementation of the district’s Portrait of a Graduate in 2021.

Read the Full Brief from CVUSD:

Vista Unified School District (VUSD)

In 2014, following a listening tour by two district leaders, VUSD launched a new “strengths-based” approach that emphasized personal relationships, student voice and choice, and connections to the world of work. This shift led to positive change across the district and spurred the development and adoption of the district’s “Framework for the Future” in 2022, which includes not only a Learner Portrait, but also an Adult Portrait, and System Portrait to guide fundamental change at all levels. To avoid the Learner Portrait becoming “an additional thing” put on teachers’ plates, VUSD leaders asked each school to decide how their “unique brand” supports the Learner Portrait, and to build on what they were already doing to deepen the work. To deepen this work, VUSD has become one of just a handful of CA districts in recent years to adopt competency-based learning, which is linked directly to their Learner Portrait.

Read the Full Brief from VUSD:

Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD)

DJUSD began the process of developing a Graduate Profile in the fall of 2017, driven by a desire to clarify the district’s priorities and better define the purpose of education. Following outreach and engagement with well over 1,000 people across the community, the district developed a Graduate Profile to create a vision for the future of education in the district aligned with what teachers identified as the most teachable and assessable competencies. The district’s schools are now embarking on the journey of aligning practice with the Graduate Profile.

Read the Full Brief from DJUSD:

Lindsay Unified School District (LUSD)

LUSD’s transformation began 15 years ago, when the district was seeing dismal results. In 2007, the district engaged the community to create and adopt the LUSD Strategic Design, an ambitious and all-encompassing framework that not only expressed the community’s values around curriculum, instruction, assessment, and more, but also redefined success to include a set of Lifelong Learning Standards. Still today, the Strategic Design guides the ongoing transformation of the learner experience. LUSD’s approach has evolved to become a national model for competency-based education, driven by a whole-person definition of success.

Read the Full Case Study on LUSD published by NGLC:

Special thanks to our writer/storyteller, John Larmer, and designer, Kimberly Rachelle Ranalla.

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