New Designs for School
New Designs for School

We’ve all had the experience of truly purposeful, authentic learning and know how valuable it is. Educators are taking the best of what we know about learning, student support, effective instruction, and interpersonal skill-building to completely reimagine schools so that students experience that kind of purposeful learning all day, every day.

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The stories, the voices, and the field-building practices of the Next Generation Learning Challenges community speak to our collective work on the complex challenges in education today.

Have you ever wondered why Challenges is part of NGLC’s name? It's because we work with school communities across the nation to solve big, hairy, thorny, wickedly complex challenges in K-12 education.

As we head into the new year, let’s take this opportunity to celebrate the stories, the voices, and the field-building practices collected on the Next Gen Learning blog that speak to our collective work on these challenges with a sampling of “reader’s choice” articles.

Challenge: Why Schools Need to Change

children enjoying the outdoorsReimagining Schools: The Need for Autonomy and Humanity by Susanna Brock, COGx, and Annie Cole, Modern Classrooms Project, April 11, 2022. With these research-based practices, we can reimagine schools in both large and small ways to be the places teachers and students are saying they need to do their best work.

Challenge: Designing for Equity

student inventorsFighting the Stigma of Special Education: Students as Inventors for Social Good by Anjali Atkins, Educator in California, June 7, 2022. Students in special education often believe they aren’t smart enough to do challenging things. These students saw their own talent when inventing a solution for a community partner, challenging these beliefs.

Challenge: New Designs for School

teacher with 2 studentsAn Educator’s Guide to Learner Profiles for Students by Amanda Avallone, NGLC (ret.), June 30, 2022. As more and more educators work to replace factory-model schools with personalized, student-centered learning experiences, knowing our students has taken on new meaning.

teacher with 2 studentsFrom Teacher to Teammate: Real-World Projects Challenge Students and Teachers Alike by Elizabeth Luna, Athens Drive Magnet High School, January 10, 2022. Community-based projects are a game-changer in the classroom, when students learn to use design thinking to solve problems, address community needs, and make an impact... and teachers become partners in learning.

student digital artworkFranklin School District: From Portrait to Practice by Carisa Corrow, Educating for Good, February 8, 2022. When teachers and community members start planning lessons together, real-world projects change how students learn and what they achieve.

Challenge: Building Community

Two Rivers staffGot Staff? Get Cultured! The Key Ingredients to Nurturing Adult Learning Communities by Caroline Mwendwa-Baker and Rossana Mahvi, Two Rivers Public Charter School, June 15, 2022. School leaders can face the challenges in education today by creating the conditions that motivate and support educators with specific leadership characteristics.

warm handshakeHealing and Re-Humanizing Our Education System by John Watkins, Deeper Learning Dozen, May 16, 2022. How might we heal our way to a deeper kind of learning and definition of success for each and every student and adult in our educational system?

Challenge: Reimagining Assessment

pencils and crayonsPerformance-Based Assessment: Exploring Myths and Falsehoods in Education by Carisa Corrow, Educating for Good, August 10, 2022. Debunking misconceptions and assumptions around performance assessments.

young student projectsFrom Good to Great: 5 Elements to Revamp Your Assessments by Soraya Ramos, Envision Learning Partners, January 31, 2022. Educators can make their assessments great using the five principles of High Quality Performance Assessment (HQPA).

Challenge: Professional Learning

teacher PDTeachers Need to Experience Powerful Learning Too by Young Whan Choi, Educator and Author in California, September 6, 2022. In this excerpt from the recently released book, Sparks Into Fire, author Young Whan Choi relates a story of teacher professional learning that is as experiential and engaging as we want learning to be for students.

Challenge: Technology Tools

teachers in networkIncreasing Access to Talented Teachers and High-Quality Learning in Greater Boston by Jasmine Toussaint, BUILD, January 18, 2022. Campus Without Walls leverages the power of public schools, communities, and technology to connect students all over Boston to classes taught by the region’s top teachers.

Challenge: Enabling Change

middle school student presentationBuilding an Ecosystem of Support for Deeper Learning by Jason E. Glass, Kentucky Department of Education, July 13, 2022. Given the demands and distractions school and system leaders face daily, where should the leader start, to build a thriving ecosystem for deeper learning? A state chief offers 3 key areas of focus.

head in handsDriving with the Brakes On: Why Are We Trying to Do Liberatory Practices within an Authoritarian Paradigm? by Jal Mehta, Harvard Graduate School of Education and Deeper Learning Dozen, April 27, 2022. Why does education hold onto old notions of order, control, and authority while trying to embrace newer ideas around inquiry, self-direction, and liberation? And what can we do about it?

Photo at top courtesy of Montessori for All in Austin, Texas. For all other image credits, see the linked articles.

Kristen Vogt (she/her/hers)

Knowledge Officer, NGLC

Kristen Vogt, knowledge management officer for NGLC, focuses on identifying lessons, strategies and outcomes from the NGLC community and making them available to a wider audience.