Supporting innovative student-centered learning strategies focused on Learning Sciences

Future Ready Schools partnered with Columbia University’s National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools & Teaching (NCREST) to identify successful strategies for implementing innovative student-centered learning strategies as evidenced by research. NCREST identified just over 100 empirical research articles discussing evaluations and overviews of key Federal programs, school models, and approaches to innovative teaching practices to personalize and deepen learning in schools.

That research yielded a summary of 6 essential elements of a strong evidence-based problems of practice that advance systemic school-level student-centered learning approaches. From that research, the Future Ready Schools Learning Science Working Group [link to Learning Science peag] identified 8-12 key strategies that address the research-based problem of practice with tangible real-world solutions that can be deployed in schools across the nation today.

Aligned to the Future Ready Schools Framework, each guide was written and developed by practitioners who were identified, recruited and vetted as experts in their area of focus. The guides were created to help all educators get started implementing learning science by providing access to ideas, tips and tricks, guiding questions and specific strategies grounded in the research-based elements described above. View the full research synthesis [link to NCREST lit review], or begin exploring the FRS learning science implementation guides by clicking on a topic of interest below.


Access to Varied and Customizable Content, Curriculum and Assessments

Provide teachers with access to resources for curriculum, assessments, and professional learning to support strong content knowledge and pedagogy.

Address Community’s Workforce Needs

Engage and collaborate with stakeholders and partners to build an understanding of the connection between the school and the community.

Agency among teachers and students

To transform schools, input from teachers and students about the school modernization process is critical.

Align Technology Planning

In this age of digital learning, aligning school technology planning with curriculum, assessment, professional learning, and other operational needs is a necessity.

Aligned Grading Practices

Evaluate current grading practices and their alignment with the school’s vision for teaching and learning.

Alignment to Learning Sciences and Evidence

Implement instructional strategies that align with and build on learning and human development research.

Articulating a Philosophy for Learning

For a school or district leader, the vision for the school or district allows the leader to articulate the long-term impact of the work and the reason that impact is essential.

Audience Inclusion, Voice, and Participation

Schools must contend with the cultural dynamics of its internal stakeholders (e.g., students, families, teachers, etc.) in addition to external stakeholders (e.g., policymakers, business and community leaders, etc.) that impact teaching and learning.

Build Trust: Be Reliable, Competent and Sincere

Understand that personal and professional relationships need to be nurtured on an ongoing basis and that trust can easily be broken.

Building Leadership Capacity

Building capacity among the leadership team and school building leaders forces educators to look at new ways of capitalizing on the talent and potential of each individual…

Champion the Community’s Capacity

Champion the community’s capacity to help students access resources beyond the school.

Classroom Observation and Teacher Reflection

Create observation tools for principals and peers that offer teachers collaborative reflection opportunities for continuous improvement.

Community Relations Plan

Effective leadership requires the ability to engage stakeholders effectively by building and managing relationships.

Consistent and Ongoing Communications

The effective use of technology provides tools, resources, data, and supportive systems that increase opportunities for teaching and learning.

Creating Balanced and Flexible Systems of Decision Making

State education agencies face intense challenges amid increased global competition, magnified by the pressures of federal regulations.

Creative Scheduling Approaches

To reduce the achievement gap, schools can implement innovative schedules aimed at improving student learning; the use of time is a valuable but often untapped resource.

Data and Privacy Policy Creation and Maintenance

For a school or district, student data is necessary for an effective educational program.

Data Collection and Usage Plan

Create a data plan that includes the data to be collected and what will be done with it after it is collected.

Data Fluency Incentives for Educators

Encourage data literacy and reward fluency among professionals in the school to address chronic absenteeism, academic warnings, whole-child development, and other issues.

Data Systems That Connect Learning to Work Pathways

Connect students to high school learning experiences that expose workforce pathways of potential interest (e.g., internships, early-college programs, career and technical education certification, military, etc.).