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Students Take the Reins

From New Haven Independent

Published April 28, 2015

By Aliyya Swaby

Metropolitan Business Academy ninth-graders gave teachers tips on how to be more inclusive of students of all genders—such as including students who don’t identify as male or female, and avoiding seating or grouping students based on gender.

They taught one of 28 teacher and student-led workshops Monday afternoon intended to explore ways to engage students in their own learning.

The workshops followed an announcement by Mayor Toni Harp and Superintendent Garth Harries that Metropolitan Business Academy, High School in the Community, New Haven Academy, Sound School and Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School will continue a grant-funded initiative to create personalized learning experiences for their students.

The five New Haven schools are the recipients of about $300,000 in total grants for the upcoming year from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and Great Schools Partnership’s New Personalized Learning Initiative, according to Suzanne Lyons, who works on college and career readiness for the district. The latter initiative also provides all five schools with weekly intensive staff coaching in personalized instruction, Lyons said.

The roles were switched in eight of the day’s workshops, with students at the head of the classroom and adults at the tables. Metro teacher Nataliya Braginsky let her students take the reins in showing teachers from various schools Monday afternoon the work they had done in the humanities class, and in leading participants in exercises around identity and social justice.

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