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New England Profiles of Innovation | Common Ground High School

Common Ground High School in New Haven, Connecticut, has made student voice and leadership not only a philosophy, but a universal principle. The single-site charter school sits on 20 acres of land and houses an urban farm that produces more than 10,000 pounds of local food each year. Students are encouraged to become local changemakers by serving the community and driving their own educational experience.

This profile of Common Ground from CRPE and the Christensen Institute details the school’s practices that have proven successful, how they have adapted in the face of the pandemic, and how other school communities can begin conversations about wielding student voice and agency to innovate.

Other schools can consider these questions based on Common Ground’s model:

  • What systems might high schools establish to encourage, solicit, and act on student feedback?
  • What learn-and-earn models might high schools create to engage students in rigorous learning experiences that also give back to the community?
  • What strategies might high schools employ to shift toward a culture that values student voice?

About the Project

Innovation profiles are part of Think Forward New England, a research project focused on how high schools in New England are reimagining learning for adolescents and young adults in the context of COVID-19. Each profile illustrates a school charting a compelling new course for high school education, and aims to spur new questions and conversations among education leaders about emerging from the pandemic with a commitment to reimagining high school.

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