During the pandemic, high school students stepped up. They navigated remote learning, cared for each other during tough times, and took action to dream and shape a better future. Now, as we work to rebuild and rethink high school in the wake of COVID-19, student voice and choice is more important than ever. Our XQ Design Principle of the month this January is meaningful and engaged learning—and we know that when students get to take the lead, their motivation and engagement soars. This week’s resources will help you celebrate and center student leadership in your classroom. Let’s get started!
1. INVEST Build Peer Support Networks
No one understands the challenges and needs of high school students better than high school students themselves—especially at this unprecedented moment.
Why It Matters: Peer networks have been shown to improve students’ social and emotional wellness, academic success, and college and career readiness. Students have leaned on each other to get through the unique experience of going to high school during a pandemic. Now, build on those support networks through:
2. COLLABORATE Make Students Leaders in Their Own Learning
The pandemic was a crash-course in giving students direction over their own learning, and that shift is here to stay.
Why It Matters: When students have agency in what and how they learn, engagement and outcomes soar. Remote learning shifted classroom roles in a dramatic way. Now that we’re back in class, build on what went well to give students ownership over their learning. Consider:
3. EMPOWER Engage Student Activism
When six teen girls organized a 10,000 person protest in Nashville calling for an end to police brutality and systemic racism, they were just one incredible example of high school students taking the lead to shape a better future.
Why It Matters: Amidst the challenges of the pandemic and calls for racial justice, young people have been at the forefront of movements for change. Empower students by helping them explore their visions for a better future. To encourage student activism:
4. LISTEN Let Student Input Drive Change
As you adapt your classroom around the lessons of virtual learning, prioritize student voice to make change that sticks.
Why It Matters: The pandemic forced schools and teachers to make a lot of big changes fast. We saw that those changes were the most successful when leaders incorporated student feedback from the very start. Involve student voice through:
5. LEARN Celebrate Student Expertise
Don’t let the challenges of learning loss take away from how much students learned, grew, and persevered during the pandemic, both in and out of the classroom.
Why It Matters: What were the bright spots of the last two years for your students? Did they pick up a new hobby? Take on a new role in their community? Discover something about themselves? Asking these questions highlights students’ creativity and ingenuity, so they can bring their whole selves to the classroom. Value student knowledge with:
XQ X-TRA Ready to Rethink the Math Curriculum!
Pilot our new and initiative curriculum, XQ Math. This program gives students more opportunities to show their leadership and creativity in their math classrooms.
Seven new programs give students the chance to solve problems about issues in the real world. No longer are students given arbitrary examples like toting around 50 apples, but they get to explore environmental issues using data analysis, plan for a financial decision by designing an algebraic model, and animate the exponential growth in a tweet going viral.
If you would like to help us reimagine Algebra 1, sign up here.