Home XQ Forum High school design and redesign How To Apply the XQ Design Principles

How To Apply the XQ Design Principles

    • How To Apply the XQ Design Principles

      Use the XQ Design Principles as building blocks, not a blueprint, for high school design or redesign.

      There is no single formula for a great high school—one that’s vibrant, rigorous, equitable, and fully engaging for every student. Take a look at successful high schools around the country, and you’ll see there really is no one best way. Every community is unique, and so are the high schools that serve them and their young people best.

      Which is not to say that anything goes when it comes to high school design!

      Effective high schools have common elements, which research and practice have shown to be important. Responsible school designers keep those elements in mind as they imagine a new school or reimagine an existing one. The elements are building blocks, not a blueprint, for creating a unique and effective school.

      At XQ, we’ve summarized those common elements into six core XQ Design Principles:

      · Strong mission and culture
      · Meaningful, engaged learning
      · Caring, trusting relationships
      · Youth voice and choice
      · Smart use of time, space, and tech
      · Community partnerships

      The specifics of how each principle shows up vary tremendously from one school to the next. What matters is that each principle is thoughtfully addressed within the overall school design, carefully integrated with other design components, and intentionally cultivated during the implementation process.

      At XQ, we believe that every community can and must transform its high schools, so all students are fully prepared for the future. Most high schools need to change dramatically, and even the best high schools should do far better.

      To help schools and communities take on this important but difficult work, we offer a suite of materials. We invite you to check them out—and tell us what you think.




      XQ School Design Principles

      The fundamental elements of an effective high school. Treat them as guidance, not a prescription, because every community is unique.

      XQ Learner Goals

      Use these aspirational goals to define what students will gain during their high school years and who they’ll be when they graduate.

      XQ Knowledge Modules

      Knowledge and resources to guide you through the process of school design or redesign.

    • I’m a fan for “Youth Voice and Choice”, I think if you keep students at the forefront of your work that directly impacts them, and get their feedback along the way, you’ll build everything around this core. It’ll be intentional. I’m curious what everyone else thinks though. If we were to make “Youth Voice and Choice” second, which XQ Design Principle would be best first?

    • More Youth Voice and Choice would certainly shake things up in a positive way in a lot of high schools! Is that the first thing, the “entry point”? What do others think?

    • If I had to put something first before Youth Voice and Choice it would have to be Strong Mission and Culture. Building a team that shares the same mindset and a school mission that everyone can throw their support behind will open the gates to support for Youth Voice and Choice. It takes a village to raise a child, Parents/Guardians, Teachers and Administrators need to unify behind the Strong Mission and Culture.

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Which XQ Design Principle seems most important?

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