National Newsletter
For the past few months, we’ve featured stories of teacher-powered schools modeling and practicing democracy for and with students. Today, we wrap up our series on this theme with two stories—one from a teacher, one from a student—about students sharing in the power to shape their education.

When students, like teachers, are school decision-makers

Taryn Snyder, a third grade teacher at Boston Teachers Union School, was inspired by the students she met during a visit to another teacher-powered school in 2017. Their excitement and eloquence talking about their school experience motivated Taryn to introduce changes at her own site. In this piece, Taryn shares how her teacher team moved to meaningfully involve students in important decisions—establishing a culture of teacher and student leadership.
“When students are given opportunities in school to practice collaborative leadership both with peers and with teachers, we’re ensuring that they leave for high school prepared with the skill set and the experiences to be successful change-makers in their future schools and communities.”
—Taryn Snyder

Read the blog post from Taryn Snyder

What it’s like to take ownership of your learning

Lily Barnes didn’t feel like she was truly learning. She felt instead like a sponge absorbing information only to be wrung out at test time and start over—week after week. It was only when she was introduced to the individualized approach of project-based learning at Avalon School that she finally felt her learning change.

Pursuing her passion led Lily to take an active role in Avalon’s student congress, where students are trusted to weigh in on important aspects of the school and every student is welcome.

“Working with advisors, we decide what we want to learn about, what our deliverable will be, and what standards we can earn from the project. We learn all the same principles and standards as any other school, just at an individual level.
—Lily Barnes

Read the blog post from Lily Barnes

Catch up on the earlier posts from this series:

The first posts in this series were originally shared as part of a blogging roundtable in collaboration with the Center for Teaching Quality.

Teacher opportunities

ISN’s 2019 National Conference On Educational Innovation
Wisconsin Dells, WI | April 10-12

Meet some of the foremost innovation leaders and creative minds in today’s educational world. This conference offers a vibrant gathering—and an opportunity to learn as well as share. Topics include technology integration for the classroom, student-driven educational workshops, STEM, PBL, personalized learning, and more.

Learn more and get tickets.

The REAL Institute
Boston, MA | July 8-11

Boston Day and Evening Academy’s annual REAL summer intensive is a four-day exploration into the theory, pedagogy, systems and structures of student-centered, competency-based teaching and learning. Because students are always at the core of this work, there is an emphasis on creating and maintaining safe, supportive, trauma sensitive environments to enhance whole-student progress and to ensure that student needs remain the focus of all decision-making.

Learn more.

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