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229. Building Students and Staff Agency with Johnna Noll

In 2015, Norris School District came to Johnna Noll with a learner-centered educational consultant’s dream request. The tiny school district’s residential population consisted of a treatment center for kids, and it asked Johna to help it transform into a learner-centered, trauma-invested, constantly-evolving program. Of course, she said yes.  

Johnna joins the show today to tell us about what the school district has built. It uses a very clear learning design process: Profile, Plan, Pathway, Progress, and Proof. Students create their own unique learning paths based on their hobbies, talents, and interests. Then it’s up to the learning specialists to make sure academic competencies are tied into it.

The foundation of the entire learning environment is students and staff deeply learning about each other, building agency and confidence. From there students are connected to resources in the community to learn about what they are specifically interested in. 

We also talk about how truly empowering students and staff goes hand-in-hand with scaling up. Authentic success stories for students and communities, plus a healthy workplace for educators, is necessary to sustain the growth rate needed to one day benefit all students across the state, country, and world.

To learn more, visit:

We unbox:

  • Building student and staff profiles 

  • Tying academic competencies in with community-based learning

  • Changing job descriptions and workplace policies to support learner-centered education


Produced by NOVA Media


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