Policy – Issue 5, Community Schooling Journal

Community Schooling | Issue 5 | Spring 2024

Bringing a Graduate Profile to Life

Michael Matsuda, Superintendent, Anaheim Union High School District and John Larmer, Defined Learning

About the Brief

Anaheim Union High School District Superintendent, Mike Matsuda and John Larmer of Scaling Student Success collaboratively developed this Policy ABC’s Spotlight. Through an exploration of how AUHSD’s graduate profile – the 5Cs of compassion, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication – is situated within the district’s Career Preparedness Systems Framework, the authors share the journey from vision to implementation. The authors explore how the  graduate profile lives in classrooms across AUHSD and ultimately offers five recommendations to move the work from poster to practice: 

  1. Create a shared vision, mission, and core values that point to whole-child instruction in the classroom. 
  2. Build structures and systems that support the teacher in the classroom and align with the vision, mission, and core values.
  3. Work with the teacher association on supporting teachers in aligning their work with the Career Preparedness Systems Framework and the 5 Cs.
  4. Develop a human resources strategy that is aligned with the vision, mission, and core values, including recruitment, hiring, retention, and evaluation of teachers and administrators.
  5. Collaborate with higher education, business and nonprofit partners to support the vision, mission, and core values.

Educators across layers of the schooling system can learn about the journey of collaborative leadership to innovate and implement a new vision of what schools can be. This Policy ABC’s spotlight lifts up the community gatherings, cross-school teacher leadership teams, and district support that enables this new vision to be brought to life. Such a move requires the bravery to turn away from the status quo of routine standardized testing and develop a new North Star for engaging and educating our students. Voices of educators across the district demonstrate what this vision looks like in classrooms. This spotlight concludes with an invitation to join the movement towards revisioning student success and building and implementing a graduate profile.

Read the full brief here.


For further learning, check out these websites, reports, magazine articles, and more. These resources are curated to speak to different audiences, including teachers, researchers, policymakers, and the general public.

Educating for Purposeful Life

Dr. Jaron Fried, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services at AUHSD, engages in a compelling dialogue with authors David Brazer and Michael Matsuda, about their latest publication, “Educating for Purposeful Life.”

Superintendent Matsuda discusses the role of artificial intelligence in education with an AUHSD panel of teachers.

Opinion piece by Superintendent Matsuda in The Hechinger Report.

Story by Superintendent Matsuda in Ten Strands.


Matsuda, M., & Larmer, J. (2023). Practice and Policy Brief: Bringing a Graduate Profile to Life. Scaling Student Success.


Michael Matsuda is a renowned educational leader who has served as superintendent of Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD) since 2014. Matsuda’s achievements have garnered numerous awards, both for himself and for Anaheim Union. AUHSD leads the state with 17 California Democracy Schools, promoting student engagement and civic participation.

Biography and photo provided by AUHSD.

John Larmer is the Senior PBL Advisor for Defined Learning, and previously served as a classroom teacher and educational leader at WestEd and the Buck Institute for Education (now PBLWorks). Larmer has several best-selling titles and is an internationally sought-after speaker.

Biography and photo provided by Defined Learning.