The holistic development of adolescents – academically, socially, and emotionally – is at the heart of the Engaged Classrooms approach. Three key frameworks inform Engaged Classrooms:

  • Equity-Centered Classrooms emphasize culturally responsive and developmentally informed practices and close opportunity gaps and academic and disciplinary disparities among student groups.
  • Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports provide a scaffolded approach for teachers to reach and engage diverse groups of learners through the implementation of universal promotion and prevention practices for all students, and teacher-facilitated interventions for students who struggle academically and/or behaviorally.
  • Learning & Life Competencies guide integration of academic, social, and emotional learning and development into daily classroom practices.

The Engaged Classrooms approach prepares teachers and staff to create schools where adolescents feel safe, cared for, engaged, and challenged. The approach is organized within five learning Domains: 1) Positive Personal Relationships; 2) Organizing the Learning Environment; 3) Content Design, Learning Tasks, and Protocols; 4) Academic Support; and 5) Restorative and Accountable Discipline and Behavioral Support.

Our Engaged Classrooms approach includes the following components:

Diagnostic
A comprehensive process in which Engaging Schools collaborates with school leaders to assess current instructional practices regarding student engagement and achievement. It includes a review of quantitative data, sensing interviews, classroom observations, a teacher survey, and school leader meetings.

Institute
The four-day institute supports middle and high school teachers to reflect on their current practice and to learn frameworks, strategies, and mindsets that increase engagement, build high-performing classroom communities, improve academic achievement, and foster social and emotional competencies.

Professional Learning Cycle
This process equips teacher teams and instructional leaders to address a collectively identified “problem of practice.” Leaders design a Professional Learning Cycle that supports mutual accountability among peers by providing sustained professional learning that employs a core set of norms, strategies, and protocols, helping teachers discover and plan for solutions that improve student outcomes.

For a downloadable PDF of graphics connected to the Engaged Classrooms approach, please click here.

A compelling set of evidence-based strategies that support middle and high school students’ academic achievement and social-emotional learning and development provides the foundation of the Engaged Classrooms approach. You can find these and much more in our latest publication, Engaged Classrooms: The Art and Craft of Reaching and Teaching All Learners.

Engaged Classrooms helps teachers deepen their ability to:

  • Foster and sustain positive personal relationships
  • Organize the classroom environment to maximize student learning
  • Ramp up rigor to increase academic engagement
  • Target academic supports to meet the range of diverse learners in a classroom
  • Plan for, respond to, and manage unwanted behaviors

Engaged Classrooms fosters positive changes in student outcomes.
Students have increases in:

  • Course completion and GPA
  • Attendance
  • Perceptions of belonging, safety, and behavioral and academic support at school
  • Self-awareness, self-management, social and academic efficacy

Students have decreases in:

  • Lost instructional time due to in-school and out-of-school suspensions
  • Disproportional application of referrals, in-school, and out-of-school suspensions

Engaged Classrooms helps schools gain:

  • Faculty and staff members who are committed to equity-centered classrooms and who have the skills to implement its strategies and practices
  • A consistent and coherent set of classroom strategies that align with commonly used teacher effectiveness frameworks and that can be readily used within teacher evaluation systems
  • Greater leadership capacity to coach and support teachers in the areas of instruction, classroom management, and discipline


“Educators need to understand how best to help adolescents develop as learners in their classes. This should not be framed as an additional task for teachers, though for many it may mean teaching in new ways. By helping students develop the noncognitive skills, strategies, attitudes, and behaviors that are the hallmarks of effective learners, teachers can improve student learning and course performance while also increasing the likelihood that students will be successful in college.”

Camille A. Farrington, et al., Teaching adolescents to become learners, The role of noncognitive factors in shaping school performance: A critical literature review