Special Report: What Student-Centered Schools Look Like

What makes a school “student-centered”? Whether it’s the school’s design, scheduling of the school day, or more-subtle signals about student participation and engagement, schools can end up sending a host of messages about whether it’s the students—or the adults—who come first.

This special report offers practical examples of student-centered strategies that can enhance a school’s chances for success overall. They include making classroom content more engaging for students and helping them forge bonds with each other; making students an integral part of the school’s professional development and discipline approaches; ways to support students’ crucial lifestyle needs in areas such as mealtimes, sleep, and physical activity; and how to assure a safe and secure school environment without adding to the background noise of daily anxiety.

In addition, students share their own experiences and perspectives on how—and whether—their schools and school routines meet their personal and academic needs.

Special Report: What Student-Centered Schools Look Like


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Education Week Experts

Subject-matter experts featured in this report include:


How One Principal Transformed His School With Student-Centered Learning
By refocusing on the needs of students and empowering teachers, Principal Hamish Brewer and his team have helped turn around one of the most challenged schools in Prince William County, Va.
Watch the video.

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When a Des Moines high school realized class attendance and engagement were low for students of color, educators looked for solutions by turning to the experts: the students themselves.
March 13, 2019 – Education Week

Zion Freeman saw positive changes in his history class after a conversation with his teacher on how to make the lessons more engaging and collaborative.
March 13, 2019 – Education Week

Advisory periods—that common block of time in middle and high school schedules intended to strengthen relationships in schools—often feel burdensome to teachers and useless to students. But some schools are finding ways to make advisories matter.
March 13, 2019 – Education Week

Lila Berg was starting middle school in a new town, making the often rocky transition to 6th grade potentially even more fraught.
March 13, 2019 – Education Week

Lunches wolfed down in 15 minutes. Little or no recess. Sleep-deprived teens. And pollutant-filled indoor air. There’s mounting evidence that addressing these basic quality of life issues can improve students’ achievement and well-being.
March 13, 2019 – Education Week

Riley Quinn exercises each day as part of her elementary school's "Morning Mile" program, which the principal says makes a huge difference in kids' readiness to learn.
March 13, 2019 – Education Week

With deep concerns about safety, schools look for ways to blend security features that students hardly notice with welcoming learning environments for them.
March 13, 2019 – Education Week

The goal of DuPont Hadley Middle School's youth-led court is to help fellow student take steps to repair harm they cause through bad choices and behavior, writes 8th grader Abigail Belch, a second year member of the court who is currently its bailiff.
March 13, 2019 – Education Week

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