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Student Centric Education Design

location_on Los Angeles, United States

Learn4Life designs schools starting with realities that opportunity youth face, leading to a 90% success rate at scale for 45,000+ students.

Our students' needs exceed the scope of traditional high schools. We designed our schools to explicitly shift the use of time, space, curriculum, credit, tutoring, instruction, wrap around supports, dual college enrollment, partnerships with employers, and other innovations explicitly driven by the realities our 14-24 year-students face. We all must master essential student-to-adult relationships.

Overview

HundrED has not validated this innovation

Anyone can submit their innovation to HundrED Open. All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED. Innovation page has been created on March 31st, 2019

2002

Established

45K

Children/users

1

Countries
Organisation
Not-for-profit
Updated
November 22nd, 2022
Do more of what works, less of what doesn't, and know the difference.
Caprice Young, National Superintendent

About the innovation

Realities are facts, not faults. We design explicitly for student success.

Our philosophy is simple. Remove every barrier to student learning. Here are examples:

Reality 1: Students enter reading on a fifth-grade level; Solution 1: Learn4Life provides one-on-one tutoring and small group instruction reintroducing students to decoding and rebuilding skills and knowledge that others learn earlier.

Reality 2: Students enter doing math on a sixth-grade level; Solution 2: Learn4Life provides one-on-one tutoring and small group instruction reintroducing students to basic math facts and vocabulary needed as scaffolding to support algebraic concepts and more advanced work.

Reality 3: Students have not been appropriately identified for special education services; Solution 3: Learn4Life assesses the special learning needs of each student within the first 30 days.

Reality 4: Students are English Learners; Solution 4: Learn4Life provides explicit English instruction by teachers trained to address their needs and materials/technology tailored to learning English.

Reality 5: Students are pregnant or have babies they need to care for; Solution 5: Learn4Life encourages students to bring their babies to school with them and provides access to community services, parent training, and health care, as well as free diapers, toys, and food.

Reality 6: Students have to work to support their families; Solution 6: Learn4Life arranges for students to come to school at a time consistent with their work hours and supports their independent work, as they show both proficiency and progress.

Reality 7: Students don’t decide to restart their education at the beginning of set semester calendars; Solution 7: Learn4Life’s calendar is year-round and students may matriculate on any day, starting instruction at whatever level they are academically.

Reality 8: Students have trouble juggling five or six classes at a time, plus probation, parenting, counseling and/or work; Solution 8: Learn4Life supports students taking as few as two classes at a time, but more intensively, to keep them learning and making progress.

Reality 9: Students dislike the social pressure of lunch, recess and other downtimes in traditional high schools; Solution 9: Learn4Life requires students to eat when they are hungry and take breaks as needed in order to stay focused on learning.

Reality 10: Students have to change schools or miss class due to external factors, losing credit for work done when they can’t finish a semester; Solution 10: Learn4Life arranges the curriculum so students can finish credits on a weekly and monthly basis, ensuring they don’t have to re-do work they have already done.

Reality 11: Students are or become homeless; Solution 11: Learn4Life introduces them to social services and resources to get off the street and into safe, secure housing.

Reality 12: Students need more time to make up for years of struggle; Solution 12: Learn4Life works with students up to age 26, ensuring that they never give up.

Reality 13: Students need a job; Solution 13: Learn4Life works with local employers to define the training requirements for good paying jobs then implements career standard certification courses for students.

Reality 14: Students want to go to college; Solution 14: Learn4Life assesses their learning needs to be ready and qualified for college, then supports them in fulfilling their goals. We build dual-enrollment programs with local colleges so that students can graduate high-school with confidence and some college completed.

Reality 15: Students want to know how what they are studying is relevant; Solution 15: Learn4Life arranges for experiential learning opportunities and trips aligned with the course curriculum.

Reality 16: Students forget to or simply can't come to school; Solution 16: Learn4Life calls/texts tardy students, makes regular home visits and provides bus passes.

Reality 17: Students are victims and/or perpetrators of family and neighborhood violence; Solution 17: Learn4Life trains all of its staff in trauma informed care and awareness as well as providing onsite counseling for students and staff experiencing trauma. AND

Reality 18: Life happens; Solution 18: Learn4Life always welcomes students back and enables them to pick up where they left off, even in a different center, always.


Media

Learn4Life Students Compete In (and win!) A National Slam Poetry Competition
https://learn4life.org/last-weeks-get-lit/
Learn4Life's HOPE Program Is In The News! - l4l
https://learn4life.org/learn4lifes-hope-program-is-in-the-news/
Learn4Life Community Impact 2019
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMqGndZJsHs&t=13s
Learn4Life – Cambiar Historia (FULL)
https://youtu.be/Udh1-rA9phE
Israel's Story
https://learn4life.org/student_stories/israels-story/
Eunice's Story
https://learn4life.org/student_stories/eunices-story/
Girls Empowerment Workshops Help Teens Gain Confidence and Self-Respect
https://learn4life.org/girl-empowerment/
Teens Learn to Battle Cyber Threats
https://learn4life.org/cyber-security/
Trauma-Informed Schools are Helping At-Risk Students Thrive
https://www.learn4life.org/news/trauma-informed-schools-are-helping-at-risk-students-thrive
Assurance Civic Engagement Highlights
https://youtu.be/Y5vGCSEtWzc
#WeWill #YourVoteYourVoice
https://youtu.be/ARyv495eUmg
Your Vote Counts
https://youtu.be/LEPbeQfLxWk
Turning Liquor Stores into Learning Centers
https://youtu.be/unXw2HQZcv4
Daniel – Learn4Life Student Stories (30s)
https://youtu.be/grNlI-due4s
Fidela + Orquidea Dominguez – MLC Alumni Story
https://youtu.be/GgEySri46iM
Staff vs. Students - Learn4Life Kickball
https://youtu.be/CKNBqswP_yE
Learn4Life 2018 Graduations – Highlighted Moments
https://youtu.be/s1wlnVv7SmU
San Diego Community Impact (Spanish Subtitles)
https://youtu.be/_7YAIH-yZNI
Credit 2B Reaction Rates
https://youtu.be/f248KLpI7Ms
[3.21.18] College & Career Expo
https://youtu.be/9oepHPYMVyk
Francisco's Learn4Life Alumni Story
https://youtu.be/AvYGFYaDow4
H.O.P.E. Program 2019
https://youtu.be/SEAHfyGm56Y
Chelsea Summer: Get Lit Poet & Learn4Life ALumni
https://youtu.be/s6UMLpbAtkQ
Elizabeth's Learn4Life Story (Full)
https://youtu.be/GtwMldVe-sg

Steps

Come Visit Us In Person or Via Real-time Tech (Skype, etc)
Send and email to Caprice.Young@Learn4Life.org
Bring your community together, including your students!

Here are some facts for our community.

Students:

Reality 1: Students enter reading on a fifth-grade level; 

Reality 2: Students enter doing math on a sixth-grade level; 

Reality 3: Students have not been appropriately identified for special education services; 

Reality 4: Students are English Learners; 

Reality 5: Students are pregnant or have babies they need to care for; 

Reality 6: Students have to work to support their families; 

Reality 7: Students don’t decide to restart their education at the beginning of set semester calendars; 

Reality 8: Students have trouble juggling five or six classes at a time, plus probation, parenting, counseling and/or work; 

Reality 9: Students dislike the social pressure of lunch, recess and other downtime in traditional high schools; 

Reality 10: Students have to change schools a lot, losing credit for work done when they can’t finish a semester; 

Reality 11: Students are or become homeless; 

Reality 12: Students need more time; 

Reality 13: Students need a job; 

Reality 14: Students want to go to college; 

Reality 15: Students want to know how what they are studying is relevant; 

Reality 16: Students forget to or can't come to school; 

Reality 17: Students are victims and/or perpetrators of family and neighborhood violence; 

Reality 18: Life happens.  

Teachers:

Reality 1: Teachers are overwhelmed in traditional schools with oversized classes and caseloads over 100;

Reality 2: Teachers are unable to connect with every student in their classes;  

Reality 3: Teachers are secluded in their own classrooms; they feel isolated;  

Reality 4: Teachers have to pay for teaching supplies out of their own pocket;

Reality 5: Teachers have workloads requiring them to correct papers outside of their workday;

Reality 6: Teachers have no time to prepare;  

Reality 7: Teachers have challenges staying healthy;

Reality 8: Teachers are forced to teach material too advanced for students to access;

Reality 9: Teachers are not equipped to support the needs of students who are facing extreme trauma, abuse, and dislocation;  

Reality 10: Teachers cannot provide tutoring to students during the school day;  

Reality 11: Teachers are not paid to work together;  

Reality 12: Teachers want to further their education and do not have the means to do it;

Reality 13: Life happens;

Reality 14: Teachers need summer jobs;

Reality 15: Teachers are creative but not allowed to supplement the curriculum;

Reality 16: Teachers want to give students real-life experiences outside of their neighborhoods;  

Reality 17: Teachers don’t feel appreciated;





Figure out how to address the barriers to learning.

Examples regarding teacher realities: 

Reality 1: Teachers are overwhelmed in traditional schools with oversized classes and caseloads over 100;

Solution 1: Learn4Life has small group instruction, one-on-one instruction, and caseloads of about 35-40 students.

Reality 2: Teachers are unable to connect with every student in their classes;

Solution 2: Our model allows teachers to personally connect and build relationships with every student we serve.

Reality 3: Teachers are secluded in their own classrooms; they feel isolated;

Solution 3: Our Learning Centers allow for instantaneous and immediate support from our colleagues; many within arm’s reach.

Reality 4: Teachers have to pay for teaching supplies out of their own pocket;

Solution 4: Our Learning Centers are well stocked with supplies and equipment identified by the LC teachers.

Reality 5: Teachers have workloads requiring them to correct papers outside of their workday;

Solution 5: Our teachers correct work with the student providing immediate feedback during the workday.

Reality 6: Teachers have no time to prepare;

Solution 6: Our teachers have one hour of onsite preparation time for every five hours of teaching.

Reality 7: Teachers have challenges staying healthy;

Solution 17 Learning Center kitchens are stocked with healthy snacks for teachers and we pay for health insurance and days off.

Reality 8: Teachers are forced to teach material too advanced for students to access;

Solution 8: Our teachers meet the students where they are, one-on-one with tools like Read 180 to help students catch up on basic skills so they can access grade-level curricula.

Reality 9: Teachers are not equipped to support the needs of students who are facing extreme trauma, abuse, and dislocation;

Solution 9: Our teachers participate in training for trauma-informed instruction and behavioral management, as well as being supported by counselors, community resources liaisons, and student retention specialists.

Reality 10: Teachers cannot provide tutoring to students during the school day;

Solution 10: Teachers are supported by tutors who can work with students on their assignments outside of their appointments with their supervising teachers.

Reality 11: Teachers are not paid to work together;

Solution 11: Our Learning Center teachers collaborate in PLCs to identify what works together.

Reality 12: Teachers want to further their education and do not have the means to do it;

Solution 12: Learn4Life provides educational assistance reimbursement annually.

Reality 13: Life happens;

Solution 13: Learn4Life allows teachers to use vacation accruals throughout the year.

Reality 14: Teachers need summer jobs;

Solution 14: Learn4Life teachers have year-round calendars.

Reality 15: Teachers are creative but not allowed to supplement the curriculum;

Solution 15: Learn4Life pays teachers extra and provides support to develop standards-aligned lessons that meet their students' needs and are replicable across Learning Centers.

Reality 16: Teachers want to give students real-life experiences outside of their neighborhoods;

Solution 10: Learn4Life prioritizes field trips and experiential learning designed and led by teachers to expand student s’ ability to place standards-aligned curricula in context.

Reality 17: Teachers don’t feel appreciated;

Solution 17: Learn4Life provides great bonuses reinforcing the vital work they do together.


You will probably be able to find multiple solutions for each of the realities.



Explicitly decide how to address each education variable.

The matrix in the attached PDF describes how our program differs from other programs in the United States that serve similar students. We made different design choices.

Go change the laws and regulations.
Every system is different. In the United States, these changes have been hard to make. Fortunately, people really do care about kids and when they come to see what we are talking about, they help us get the changes needed. We run high integrity programs that demonstrate relevant accountability for student success and wise use of funding. That provides credibility that helps us make the case for change.
Implement. Assess. Improve.
We have been doing this since 2002 and we are constantly improving on our model. Plus, society changes and our students' lives change-- so we change. A few years ago, we discovered that many of our students were victims of human trafficking so we now train our staff on how to recognize it and what to do to help students break free and recover. It's always something new. This process lasts forever if you do it right.

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