High school students’ education and empowerment are two important themes in a school’s curriculum. Despite differences in the content and methodology of these two themes, these programs generally share some features. These include a strong emphasis on civic engagement, social justice, and a healthy environment. They also emphasize a personalized approach to learning and tailor the curriculum to the specific learning needs of each student.
Self-directed learning is a key feature of this approach, and it involves self-reflection, peer assessment, and student-teacher conferences. In addition to being interdependent, self-directed learning teaches students to chase their own questions and explore their own answers. It also allows students to become more creative and entrepreneurial.
The third aspect of self-direction is the development of literacy and writing. Students who are self-directed are self-starters, who take initiative, and who don’t wait for others to tell them what to do. If students lack the necessary self-direction, they are more likely to be unmotivated, bored, and disengaged. But empowering students is a process that can be intimidating and confusing.
In addition to the self-determination and the education they receive, the empowerment they experience includes their social and emotional skills, and their awareness and engagement in school and community. Empower co-founders were involved in school takeovers before starting their nonprofit. They found that students benefited significantly from Empower interventions in math and reading, and they compared those gains with similar school districts in Massachusetts. In addition to focusing on the student’s education, they also found that students who received intensive tutoring during vacation breaks also showed significant gains.
One of the most important aspects of student empowerment is the development of students’ autonomy in learning and teaching. Empowering students means allowing them to make their own decisions, which may include learning, teaching, and leadership. By encouraging students to take control of their education, they can make informed decisions about their own options and rights under the law.
The program is modeled on the Springfield, Massachusetts empowerment zone model. While some teachers’ unions view empowerment zones as a state takeover, the early success of these zones have contributed to their widespread implementation. The change in Springfield has prompted South Bend to model these changes in its public school system. The organization that designed the playbook for Springfield is now working with South Bend.
With these new powers and extra time, the South Bend school district will have to decide how to proceed. They must decide how to hold schools accountable for their performance and how to show school communities that the district is serious about providing them with extra support. In the meantime, the new rules will allow the district to implement a variety of changes. However, officials and administrators will have to decide how to make changes to ensure that students have the best possible educational experience.
One example of a mentor-based program is the Connected Scholars program. Its goal is to prepare students to thrive in college. The program has ten mentors and serves about twenty-five students. It has also recently been expanded to undergraduate students.
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