Grant Opportunity

by Marie Bjerede, February 1, 2018

We are looking across the country for a couple of special districts who are fascinated by student agency work and that are willing to share with us their wisdom.  We know that our unique program for building student agency is different from the usual way initiatives are implemented – we believe in putting the power in hands of the teachers to implement rather than trying to force it from the top down.  It will take like-minded districts to be willing to work within that mindset.

In the same way, we believe in putting the power in the hands of the implementers in the district to partner with us in adapting our program for them – not just taking a one-size-fits-all cookie-cutter approach to force the district to conform to our preconceived ideas. We are seeking districts that will work with us side by side to pilot the adaptation of our program to their unique contexts.  We are looking for partnership.

In this partnership, we offer a full year of our student agency program at no cost.  This includes district assessments, workshops, professional development, and consultative coaching for a full year as well as the use of our REFLECT app that supports teachers in their reflective practice as they become masters of agentic learning.  See more here.

In return we are looking for districts that are willing to engage deeply with us – where the Superintendent and Principals of the involved schools meet regularly with us to talk about progress and how the work is going and where a leader from the district joins our advisory board to give us honest feedback about how the program is working for them.

Why do we care so much about student agency?  Too often exceptional student-centered implementations such as Project Based Learning, Design Thinking, Inquiry and more lose their efficacy by the time they make it to the classroom – they are watered down, ignored, or co-opted by traditional teaching methods as when Project Based Learning devolves to simply doing projects.  This is a tragedy because students need the skills that these agentic pedagogical approaches foster – deeper learning, collaboration, creativity, communication, critical thinking, and the skills of agency: the ability to move the goals of an organization forward without waiting for hand-holding or being told what to do.

Further, students and teachers both enjoy school as a place of work or learning much more and experience far more satisfaction when they are able to approach it with agency.  Our goal is teachers who say “I can’t believe I get paid for this,” and students who say “I can’t believe I get credit for this.”  They will be working harder and deeper than ever, but it will feel like hard fun rather than an endless grind.

If your district is of a like mind, please apply here for the chance to get a 1-year Student Agency Program Grant.  We can’t wait to meet you!

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