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Without an emphasis on personalization, motivation, and student voice, “NextGen” education reforms won't be any more successful than their predecessors.

This month we bring you a superintendent’s thoughts on creating a system of customized pathways across a district, and blogs and webinars on grit and student ownership of their education.

graphic_paper 3 In the News

Superintendent's Notebook: Portland’s public high schools offer many 'Pathways to Success'
Portland Public Schools Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk describes his district’s vision for systems change: a Pathways to Success program that allow students to choose the high school best suited to their learning needs and educational and career goals.  Caulk hopes that this choice will aid in preparing his students for college, work, and a fast-changing, global world.  Changing School District Practices details seven key district characteristics to support this type of innovative learning approach.
Stacey Childress and Scott Benson published a blog for The Gates Foundation on the next generation of personalized learning in hopes that these strategies will improve student outcomes, since less than half of the 2012 graduating class that took the ACT scored at a level that predicts earning a “C” or better in freshman college math.  They key, they say, is whole-school models that embody their seven principals.  The Students at the Center papers underline a similar set of priorities – explicit intersections with Childress and Benson’s blog can be seen in Motivation, Engagement, and Student Voice, Curricular Opportunities in the Digital Age, Personalization in Schools, and Assessing Learning.
Who is in charge here? BDEA reflection on student ownership of their education
In this blog, Boston Day and Evening Academy Director of Instruction Alison Hramiec explains how this competency-based school enables students to take control their own learning. For more about how BDEA designs its competencies for struggling students, see Aligning Competencies to Rigorous Standards for Off-track Youth: A Case Study of Boston Day and Evening Academy and tune in to their webinar (details below in “Upcoming”).
Jobs for the Future’s Mamadou Ndiaye responded to Paul Tough’s new book titled How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character.  In his response, Ndiaye discusses the importance of character in preparing students for success in education, employment, and life.  Tough emphasizes the role of executive functions in postsecondary success, a combination of emotional and cognitive impulse control.  For more research on student self-regulation, see Eric Toshalis and Michael Nakkula’s paper Motivation, Engagement, and Student Voice.



Spotlight: Students at the Center Tools

Coming Soon: Mind, Brain, and Education Infographic
This advocacy infographic, geared towards educators and the general public, will help to connect mind, brain, and education research to what is happening in the classroom.

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Join the Students at the Center Movement

  • Like us on Facebook
  • Check out Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s YouTube channel:
  • Tweet about how you are using student-centered learning strategies in the classroom! Tweet @jfftweets, using the #plearnchat, #edchat, about your practices, resources, and tools that you are using in the classroom. (Be on the lookout for dates and times for Twitter discussions with SATC authors and experts!)
  • Leave your thoughts and comments on the Students at the Center website. We would love to hear about what is happening in the field.
  • Participate in personalized learning forums. Connected Educators hosts the “It’s Personal” forum and has archived resources, webinars, and
  • Forward this email to your colleagues so they can subscribe to our newsletter
Project Overview
Students at the Center explores the role that student-centered approaches can play in deepening learning and preparing young people to meet the demands of the 21st century. 
Learn more about this research or download the eBook.

Join the Conversation!

We are looking for contributors! If you have student-centered learning tools/resources, ideas for a blog, or comments – please contact us.

Don't forget to Like Students at the Center on Facebook.

Featured Paper
Personalization in Schools
Personalization in secondary education supports student-centered learning and takes place through a variety of relational structures, strategies, and interventions. This paper examines how enhanced adult-youth relationships lead to increased student engagement, youth development, and academic performance. It highlights the particular importance of personalization efforts for at-risk populations and nontraditional students, and explores technical aspects of implementing personalization in schools. Learn about personalization in action at CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.


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