Student-Centered Approaches

Today, we know more than ever about how students learn—but traditional school systems aren’t providing the best environments to prepare students for success. The Connecticut YOUTH Forum has been awarded a grant by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation to continue to promote, encourage and implement student centered learning. During August of 2015, four YOUTH Forum students made their way to Amherst College in Massachusetts to attend the Youth Leadership Institute conference.

For 25 years, The CT YOUTH Forum has embraced youth development, relationship building and student-centered strategies. Student-centered learning engages students in their own success—and incorporates their interests and skills into the learning process. Students engage with YF Program Managers and their peers in real-time, after school is out—preparing them to participate in a skilled workforce later in life.

For more information on student-centered approaches to learning, download the Student-Centered Learning Brochure.

Nellie Mae’s Mission Statement

To stimulate transformative change of public education systems across New England by growing a greater variety of higher quality educational opportunities that enable all learners—especially and essentially underserved learners—to obtain the skills, knowledge and supports necessary to become civically engaged, economically self-sufficient life-long learners.

Their Vision

All New England learners prepared for success—educationally, economically, and as engaged citizens. What are Student-Centered Approaches? Student-centered approaches to learning highlight four key tenets, drawn from the mind/brain sciences, learning theory, and research on youth development that are essential to students’ full engagement in achieving deeper learning outcomes:

Learning is Personalized: Personalized learning recognizes that students engage in different ways and in different places. Students benefit from individually-paced, targeted learning tasks that start from where the student is, formatively assess existing skills and knowledge, and address the student’s needs and interests.

Learning is Competency-Based: Students move ahead when they have demonstrated mastery of content, not when they’ve reached a certain birthday or endured the required hours in a classroom.

Learning Happens Anytime, Anywhere: Learning takes place beyond the traditional school day, and even the school year. The school’s walls are permeable--learning is not restricted to the classroom.

Students Take Ownership Over Their Learning: Student-centered learning engages students in their own success—and incorporates their interests and skills into the learning process. Students support each other’s progress and celebrate success.

The 22nd Annual Student Exchange Event theme, created by the CT YOUTH Forum’s Leadership Network is “Your Education by You.” It will promote the four tenets of SCL and there will be workshops throughout the day where the tenets are more deeply explored by smaller groups.


For more information on being involved in student centered learning and the Connecticut YOUTH Forum, please contact Alex Taylor.