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Blyth-Templeton Blog

"My Kids Are Thinking About BTA:" Promoting Student Agency from Application to Graduation

[fa icon="calendar"] 12/20/18 2:22 PM / by Blyth-Templeton Academy

Blyth-Templeton Academy

school boy using computer-1We recently received an email from an interested parent that opened with the following statement: "my kids are thinking about going to your school."

The rest of the email followed in the typical style for an initial inquiry. The family was interested in learning more and wanted to find a time to connect with a member of the admissions team to talk about the schooling environment and options at Blyth-Templeton Academy.

Are you perhaps wondering why we found the opening line so striking? Here's the statement again: "my kids are thinking about going to your school." 

In our eyes, this parent showed a powerful depth of understanding through that simple sentence. This parent understood that their kids have a capacity for thought and decision that allows them to help take responsibility for their own education journeys

The parent understands the importance of student agency.

In this post, we'll explore what we mean by student agency, talk about why student agency is important, and give you some examples of how we encourage our students to grow in their ability to make decisions and choices as free agents.

What Is Student Agency?

Student agency is the empowering of individual students to guide and direct their learning in the context of a personalized classroom environment. 

Student agency is encouraged and taught by the way a school designs the educational environment. Schools, like BTA, that include methods like experiential learning, collaborative learning, project-based learning, and Socratic discussion are all offering students ways to engage actively with the classroom material. Students are given the chance to choose how and what they will study and what conclusions they will draw from their learning, under the direction of skilled teachers who know them personally.

Student agency and student engagement go hand-in-hand.

Why is Student Agency Important?

An emphasis on student agency helps middle school and high school age kids grow into mature, independent decision makers, qualities that become crucial as soon as kids leave the high school environment and enter into college or work settings.

Every parent knows that the years of middle school and high school are crucial in a child's development. Kids need both the safety and security of an inclusive environment and plenty of freedom to begin to develop their own identities.

By engaging students in their own learning and teaching them how to own their learning, students learn things like grit, perseverance, and how to fail gracefully. They also learn to feel proud of the work they do, since their work is a reflection of themselves.

At Blyth-Templeton, Students Become Their Own Best Advocates

Our emphasis on student agency is the reason why Blyth-Templeton Academy families report to us that they see their children grow in self-confidence, motivation, and passion for their unique interests and skills. 

Our students develop their own strong voices, speaking up for themselves or for causes about which they feel passionately. We see our students grow into teenagers who know their own worth and who express themselves with clarity and compassion.

 We emphasize the importance of student engagement from application through graduation. This means taking time during the application process to make sure that kids (and not just their parents) want to be a part of our high-quality micro school community.

Your child will face a life full of opportunities and challenges. If you want to help give children a head start on their peers, help them grow their sense of responsibility and agency in middle school and high school.

Want to learn more about BTA and how we support your child from application through graduation? Check out our complete guide to applying!

Explore the Guide

Topics: adolescent development, motivating teens, student-centered learning

Blyth-Templeton Academy

About Blyth-Templeton Academy

Blyth-Templeton Academy is an experiential micro school located on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. It offers an academically rigorous 9-12th-grade high school curriculum designed to foster intellectual curiosity through active learning and community exploration. The small class sizes ensure that each student has a front row seat in classes with an average size of 8. Our model combines a warm, inviting atmosphere with great teaching that allows our students to flourish. Schedule a visit soon.

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Blyth-Templeton Academy voted a top DC high school for 2018 by readers of the Washington City Paper