21st Century Skills

At the heart of our program are mixed-aged experiences like Book Buddies that connect our students as peers, friends, and family. Here, Fifth Graders helped preschoolers with a "Goodnight Moon"-inspired activity—painting patterns that form the background of an evolving art project based on Margaret Wise Brown's classic read.

Sometimes called “social and emotional skills,” “noncognitive traits and habits,” even “grit,” 21st century skills are the nonacademic but essential life skills not directly measured by standardized test scores or any traditional measure of achievement. At CDS, they include the following:

  • critical thinking
  • innovation
  • collaboration
  • communication
  • leadership
  • organization
  • time management
  • goal setting
  • self-advocacy
  • creativity

These are the skills that researchers consistently find are the “difference that makes a difference” in college and career readiness — and life in general. They are the essential qualities that separate students who are prepared for increasingly complex life and work environments in the 21st century from those who are not. CDS's vision, in tandem with the amazing faculty who enact it every day, produce these highly-sought after, successful young people.

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