Authentic Learning Category 8

Here is a collection of articles written on the EdVisions model and network schools.

Authentic Learning articles

*All articles are available upon request by emailing

Category 8: Democratic student government supporting civic engagement, responsible decision making. and student agency.

Brasof, M. (2011). Student input improves behavior, fosters leadershipPhi Delta Kappan93(2), 20.

The article discusses the democratic model of student governance at Constitution High School (CHS), located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to the author, the model welcomes the input of students in the formal decision-making process of the school's policies and regulations. Also discussed are the single- and double-loop learning organizational models that involve changes which respectively fix immediate or systemic problems, as outlined in the book "Images of Organization," by G. Morgan. Topics include CHS school governance model, which is constructed after the U.S. legislature and judiciary branches of government, CHS' encouragement of student participatory leadership, and CHS student Ian McShea's bill to improve the school's lunch policy.

Curry, M. W. (2013). Being the change: An inner-city school builds peacePhi Delta Kappan95(4), 23.

The article looks at how a high school in California organized itself to respond and manage tragedy stemming from a 2012 instance of gun violence that killed three students associated with the public school that primarily serves low-income Latino youth. It describes the efforts of school staff to prevent students from engaging in victim mentality and instead promote critical awareness and civic engagement. Details on the school's community relations and the political activity of students are included.

Levine, P. (2016). Join a club! Or a team – both can make good citizensPhi Delta Kappan97(8), 24.

Sports participation in high school has positive effects on students’ later civic engagement. But that is true of nearly all forms of extracurricular participation in high school – whether a group is explicitly civic (student government or a service club) or far removed from civic life (an academic club or a music group). Indeed, the civic advantages of sports are not as clear as the civic benefits of some other groups. If almost all forms of extracurricular participation enhance civic engagement, then we should shift our focus away from the special advantages of sports and commit to strengthening the whole array of voluntary groups in our schools.

Myers, A. (2016). Building bridges to the world: Utilizing service learning during the senior year to develop participatory citizenshipAmerican Secondary Education44(3), 4.

The senior year of high school has the potential to be a bridge between childhood and adulthood, but senior courses are not vastly different than courses offered to freshman who are barely into their teenage years. A service learning component that is embedded throughout the senior year provides students with the space to think critically and then act, thus engaging in participatory citizenship. Teachers should, however, scaffold students' movement toward community participation by establishing a service-learning framework that combines critical reflection with classroom community.

Preus, B., Payne, R., Wick, C., & Glomski, E. (2016). Listening to the voices of civically engaged high school studentsHigh School Journal100(1), 66.

This study examines why a group of students representing two high schools became involved in an activist organization, the benefits they gained as a result, the impact they had on their school and community, and their recommendations for how school personnel can foster civic engagement in young people. The student-led group campaigned for a school levy, produced a documentary on diversity, hosted a Community Forum on school climate, and educated classmates on the root causes of hunger. Data were analyzed through the lens of positive youth development theory. Findings confirmed previous research suggesting the bi-directional nature of development, in which young people with significant developmental assets both contributed to the community and garnered additional assets as a result of their engagement. Members of the group recommended that school personnel invite and value student input, foster respectful discourse on controversial issues, show students models of engagement in the community and invite them to become involved, facilitate access to resources, and mentor students on navigating systems. The researchers recommend that school personnel foster a school climate conducive to civic engagement, nurture student leadership among all demographic groups, and promote opportunities for collective action on issues relevant to students' lived experiences.