XQ Design Principles

Design Principles
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XQ Design Principles
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High School Redesign

If we want to prepare students for college, career, and real life after high school, we need to revamp the traditional high school experience. Every community knows what's best for its students, so the specifics of high school redesign will look different from place to place. Yet there are some universal principles that can guide any group of educators, families, students, or policymakers ready to rethink high school. 

That’s why we created the six XQ Design Principles, our guiding pillars for rethinking what high school can be. They function as touchpoints to return to throughout the redesign process. Use them to ensure that your XQ high school ladders up to the essential qualities of an effective, 21st century education.  

Our Design Principles are not prescriptive; they’re core, research-backed elements that anchor the high school redesign process and support you in creating more effective learning experiences and environments. Read more about how to make these design principles your own.

Explore the XQ Design Principles

students
Strong Mission and Culture
How might you craft a clear set of school values that unify stakeholders under a common purpose? While the specifics will differ from school to school, you should always seek to define your core mission, and how each component of your school serves that mission.
Meaningful, Engaged Learning
Meaningful, Engaged Learning
How might you develop teaching strategies centered on interdisciplinary learning experiences, ones that allow students to develop deep content knowledge and complex skills? The right learning experiences also help students cultivate the confidence and fluency they need to apply what they learn in the real world.
Caring, Trusting Relationships
Caring, Trusting Relationships
How might you prioritize building personal relationships with your students inside and outside the classroom? How do you invest holistically in their development as scholars and as humans? And how do you show them, again and again, that you believe in their inherent potential for success? These considerations are core to helping young people build positive relationships, both with their peers and with adults.
Youth Voice and Choice
Youth Voice and Choice
How might you approach education in a way that puts the student first? The goal is to make sure all students have ample opportunities to develop intellectual agency, build autonomy, and establish their identities as capable, lifelong learners.
Smart Use of Time, Space, and Tech
Smart Use of Time, Space, and Tech
How might you bring all assets to bear in service to teaching and learning? How do you build flexibility into your use of time, space, technology, staffing, and financial resources? By embracing nontraditional approaches to when, where, and how students learn, you can vastly expand opportunities for learning.
Community Partnerships
Community Partnerships
How might you build connections with community partners to create learning and networking opportunities for your students? Connections like these can open up real-world learning experiences that help students learn, gain valuable experience, and envision the future beyond high school.

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