What happens when students are trusted to navigate their own learning?
That question is central to much of the Foundation’s current education grantmaking in North Minneapolis. Our curiosity is rooted in feedback from Northside students, parents and teachers – and a growing body of research – all calling for greater opportunities for student agency and voice to shape learning and school culture. We are hopeful that access to experiences such as the one described below will boost student engagement, reduce problem behavior and ultimately encourage students to thrive in high school and make smart post-secondary choices.
A great example of how the Foundation is expanding access to new, student-centered learning experiences is our recent investment in a partnership between Rêve Academy and North Community High School’s NSTEM academy. Rêve Academy helps students from disadvantaged backgrounds acquire skills and experiences that will help them succeed in creative, tech-infused careers. NSTEM is a cohort of North High students who are focusing on science, technology, engineering and math throughout their high school years. The Foundation is bringing them together this year to experiment and learn from each other.
The following reflection was written by Amanda Janssen, Rêve Academy’s Executive Director, and describes their initial partnership with North High students and staff during a 2-day “intensive” mini-course held in April, 2017.