Education & Business Leaders Sound Alarm - Grads Not Ready for Today's Workforce - Need Innovation Skills P21 and FableVision Release "Above & Beyond" Original Animated Film to Emphasize Value of 21st Century Skills in Education: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity

Washington, DC - July 27, 2011 - The Partnership for 21st Century Skills and FableVision have announced the release of an original animated film designed to spark conversations about the essential innovation skills needed for students to be successful - and the U.S. to remain economically viable - in an increasingly challenging global economy.

P21's nationwide coalition of business and education leaders ( have spent years creating a framework for integrating 21st Century Skills into education, and are now promoting a bundled subset of skills called the "4Cs": communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. These skills are cited by industry as the keys to innovation and invention and essential skills for all employees. P21 will use the film, along with an online digital toolkit that includes a downloadable poster and support resources, in a nationwide campaign to make the 4Cs a household term and promote the integration of 4Cs across all subject areas.

"After years of work in board rooms and at policy summits, we know we have an important message to convey and we realized we needed a way to get the conversation about the 4Cs happening on Main Street," said Tim Magner, Executive Director of P21. "To make that happen, we decided to leverage the power of accessible, approachable storytelling."

P21 turned to New York Times best-selling children's book author and illustrator and FableVision founder Peter H. Reynolds (The Dot, Ish, The North Star) to create Above & Beyond - an original five-minute animated film, which tells an allegorical story of how the 4Cs help students move beyond foundational "3Rs" to acquire the 21st Century Skills that industry demands.

"When my production company FableVision was approached by P21 to create the film, we said no," said Reynolds. "Instead, we suggested we partner to use the 4Cs -- communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity -- to create the story and the film with the help of hundreds of P21 members. As a result, the project and the film really went 'above and beyond' all expectations."

The film and related materials will serve as the foundation of a new P21 outreach and education campaign. In addition, the film is free and available for use by anyone that wishes to carry the message and launch a conversation in their own school or in their own community.

"This animated story offers an important conversation-starter for audiences at education conferences, professional development days, parent and community meetings," added Julie Walker, executive director of the American Association of School Librarians and chair of P21. "Anyone can use this film to begin or to enhance the discussion about what learning needs to accomplish in the 21st century if our students are to survive and thrive in a rapidly changing world."

The new film tells the story of two school children who compete in the school's engineering contest - one of whom can't move beyond the boxed kit - and the other who is an "out of the box" dreamer and visionary. The students join forces - and use communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity to win the race. The allegorical fable helps show that content mastery without the 4Cs skills won't give students the "wings" required to meet the demands of higher education, career and life in a global society and world economy.

"We hope the film helps educators, parents, policymakers and students realize that the 4Cs will allow learners to go above and beyond the basics - to master all the content and skills needed to become problem-solvers in every job and every industry. An education that combines the 3Rs and the 4Cs will also nurture the development of the next generation of artists, scientists, mathematicians, and inventors," said Paul A. Reynolds, CEO of FableVision.

To view Above & Beyond, and download a free 4Cs poster, go to

About Partnership for 21st Century Skills: P21 is a national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student. As the United States continues to compete in a global economy that demands innovation, P21 and its members provide tools and resources to help the U.S. education system keep up by fusing the three Rs and four Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration and creativity and innovation). While leading districts and schools are already doing this, P21 advocates for local, state and federal policies that support this approach for every school.

About FableVision: FableVision Studios is dedicated to helping all learners reach their full potential and to telling "stories that matter, stories that move." FableVision creates award-winning websites, games & activities, animated films, interactive graphic novels, museum kiosks, digital storybooks, desktop applications, and iPhone apps. FableVision's media, storytelling and technology solutions move the meter for publishers, broadcasters, museums, research groups, foundations, and educational institutions.

P21 Member organizations: Adobe Systems, Inc., American Association of School Librarians, Apple Inc., Blackboard, Inc., Cable in the Classroom, Cengage Learning, Cisco Systems, Inc., The College Board's Advanced Placement Program (AP), Crayola, Dell, Inc., EdLeader21, EF Education, Education Networks of America, ETS, Ford Motor Company Fund, GlobalScholar, Goddard Systems Inc., Hewlett Packard, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Intel Corporation, JA Worldwide, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, Learning Point Associates, LEGO Group, McGraw-Hill, Measured Progress, Microsoft Corporation, National Academy Foundation, National Education Association, netTrekker, Oracle Education Foundation, Pearson, Project Management Institute Educational Foundation, The Walt Disney Company, Verizon, and VIF Education International.