Giving Students Agency in the Learning Process

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Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School will use an Innovation Award in 2016-17 to increase student engagement and to give students the agency to be the masters of their own learning experiences.

The Challenge

MLK Middle School has identified two challenge areas they would like their Innovation Award to address: disproportionate student achievement on standardized tests and a lack of student engagement. Standardized test scores, like many schools in the Southeast sector of San Francisco, highlight the opportunity gap. The achievement of their African American (AA) and Asian Pacific Islander (API) subgroups as well as their students with IEPs have particularly under-performed and have not been reaching their potential for at least the past five years. These test scores correspond with student disengagement, as indicated in data collected on chronic absenteeism, tardiness and students leaving the classroom during instruction for extended periods of time without permission. Additionally, they have identified that a lack of supports and resources for certain subgroups has contributed to the equity dilemma. MLK Middle School wants to address these challenges and increase student engagement by designing a solution that enables students students to feel empowered to make informed decisions, to engage with different perspectives, work collaboratively in preparation for life in the 21st century, and use their voices to bring change to their communities.


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