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Strengthen the Profession

The vision

Connecticut’s educators have the preparation and ongoing support needed to implement student-centered, mastery-based education.

Why is this important?

Videos by TedxTalks

Effective educators have a dramatic impact on learning. By some estimates, having a great teacher for two years in a row can push an average student to the 96th achievement percentile.19 Effective principals also have an impact by organizing schools focused on learning, by supporting and strengthening classroom teachers, and ensuring students have the resources they need to learn.20  Successful superintendents set strong goals, align resources with those goals, while providing principals and teachers with the autonomy to achieve those goals.21 To remain effective, educators need strong preparation and credentialing programs and time for ongoing professional learning. Principals and district leaders must ensure schools have the resources to create an environment focused on learning.22

Student-centered teaching is a cultural shift involving virtually every aspect of what goes on in a school and district.

The Core Elements of Teaching Practice in Student-Centered Learning*

* Teachers at Work; Six Exemplars of Everyday Practice; Barbara Cervone and Kathleen Cushman, The Students at the Center Series.

Strong relationships with students

  • Teacher-student advisement
  • Forms of trust, respect, and inclusiveness
  • Easy contact among students and teachers
  • Reaching out to families
  • Connecting students with community

Anytime, anywhere and real world learning

  • Flexible schedules
  • Community internships
  • Curricular projects that engage the world outside school

Personalization and choice in curricular tasks

  • Personal learning plans
  • Substantial choice in curricular tasks
  • Opportunities to show mastery in varied ways
  • Independent projects that build on special interests

Technology that is integral to teaching and learning

  • Online learning adapted to individual student needs
  • Online tools that promote student collaboration
  • Email

Appropriate challenge levels for each learner

  • Scaffolding
  • Differentiated instruction
  • Supporting students with special needs
  • Focusing on habits of practice and revision so that students push themselves

Clear, timely assessment and support

  • “Just in time” feedback
  • Gateways and exhibitions
  • Customized assessments
  • Student feedback on curriculum and instructions

Supporting social and emotional growth

  • Educating the “whole child” – and knowing students well
  • Student reflection
  • Engaging peers
  • Coaching students on presenting themselves publicly

Fostering autonomy and lifelong learning

  • Building students’ skills around planning, time management, self-pacing, persistence, self organizing, and taking initiative
  • Learning to learn


19     Marzano, R. J. (2003). What works in schools: Translating research into action. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

20     Leithwood, K., Seashore Louis, K., Anderson, S. & Wahlstrom, K. (2004). How Leadership Influences Student Learning. New York, NY: The Wallace Foundation.

21     Waters, T., & Marzano, R. (2006). School District Leadership That Works: The Effect of Superintendent Leadership on Student Achievement. Aurora, CO: McREL.

22     Darling-Hammond, L., LaPointe, M.A., Meyerson, D., Orr, M.T. & Cohen, C. (2007). Preparing Leaders for a Changing World: Lessons from Exemplary Leadership Development Programs. Stanford, CA: Stanford University.