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Now is the Moment to Lean into Student Agency (The Christensen Institute)

The Christensen Institute shares how supporting student agency emerged during the pandemic as a key strategy for nurture students’ abilities in the face of uncertainty. This 2020 blog post shares three key benefits of fostering agency: engagement and learning, social and emotional well-being, and school operations; and offers practical steps for building toward each in your school.

Why is School Connectedness So Important?

This short post from 2018 summarizes what the authors found in their systematic research review on school connectedness, which aimed to define school connectedness and identify the relationship of four factors (attending, belonging, engaging, and flow) to connectedness. The blog post clearly lays out what looks connectedness looks like, and offers guidance for schools to encourage it, and the literature review takes a deeper, more theoretical approach towards the development of a model of school connectedness.

The Belonging Barometer (Over Zero and the Center for Inclusion and Belonging at the American Immigration Council)

This robust 2023 report reviews the concept of belonging, centering its importance for key stakeholders, leaders, and philanthropists in the US today who care about health, democracy, and intergroup relations. The report introduces the Belonging Barometer, a way of measuring belonging that is robust, accessible, and readily deployable in the service of efforts to advance the common good. The Belonging Barometer was used in a nationally representative survey in late 2021 to assess the state of belonging in five life settings: family, friends, workplace, local community, and the nation. The report concludes with considerations for designing interventions that increase…

Brené Brown on Empathy (video)

Building trusted relationships within any group, including among those in co-deigning sessions, is critical. This animated short from RSA is narrated by Brené Brown, and offers important insights into how to authentically relate to others. 

School Connectedness Helps Students Thrive (

The CDC shares why connectedness is important and the benefits of promoting connectedness in our schools. The website includes specific actions schools can take to build connectedness, the effects of school connectedness, and additional resources to decrease risky behaviors through connectedness, including from the CDC’s What Works in Schools. See also the March 2009 CDC report, School connectedness: Strategies for increasing protective factors among youth, which includes detailed examples of six strategies to promote school connectedness:

We Are Made to Connect (U.S. Surgeon General)

Following its advisory on the healing effects of social connection and community, in December of 2023, the United States Surgeon General launched a national connection challenge to encourage people to prioritize their relationships. The “5-for-5 Connection Challenge’ involves taking five actions that express gratitude to, offer support to, or ask for help from people over five days. These simple but powerful actions build and strengthen relationships and inspire others to incorporate connection as part of their daily lives.

Core Practice Continuum: Supporting Student Agency (Turnaround for Children)

Turnaround’s Core Practice Continuum for Student Agency is a tool designed to prompt reflection and empower growth across roles in a school by providing rich descriptions of quality and categorically different images of practice across levels that lead to student agency. The Core Practice Continuum for Student Agency is intended for use by individual educators who engage with students in various ways in a school community, including teachers, student support staff, instructional support staff, school leaders and administrators. The continuum is intentionally framed to show a developmental progression of practice and pathways to improvement.

Get Schooled: Student Stories from Across KY

Get Schooled is a youth-led podcast series that amplifies and elevates the stories and voices of students so that they can have agency in our education system. Get Schooled is produced by the Kentucky Student Voice Team, a statewide organization of young people co-creating more just, democratic Kentucky schools and communities as research, policy and advocacy partners.

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