Skip to content
Aurora Institute

Who’s Leading the Way?

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Antonia Rudenstine and Sydney Shaef

Issue(s): Issues in Practice, Lead Change and Innovation, Commit to Equity

A Promising Competency-Based Model for Historically Marginalized Students

who-is-leading-the-way-in-cbeCompetency-based education models are complicated organisms, and staging their development and growth is generally a multi-year task, whether one is a launching a new school or re-envisioning an existing program. As the world of CBE picks up momentum our team at reDesign is continually asking ourselves, “Who’s Leading the Way in Serving Historically Marginalized Young People?” In preparation for #iNACOL16 we documented some of our learning in a Prezi (pictured above). We will continue to add to it over the course of this year, so please let us know about the models you think of when you ask yourself the same question.

What makes a model a CBE leader?


At reDesign, when we look at CBE models, we look through the lens of our Mastery Learning Roadmap (inset, 2015), which identifies over 60 CBE elements that are present in fully-implemented models.

Knowing that there is much we haven’t seen, and that programs are continually iterating on their models, we continually find ourselves incredibly inspired by the creative and successful efforts of Bronx Arena High School in New York City, where all of the elements of CBE are currently present. At Arena, 65% of the graduating class enrolls in college, and 82% of enrollees persist beyond the freshman year. In NYC, these numbers are outstanding. But, Arena is all the more impressive because it exclusively serves over-age students who have faced repeated school failure and are now extremely close to aging-out of the system without coming close to meeting graduation requirements.

Hear from the Students>>

This year, we did a deep dive into the Bronx Arena Model to try to understand and codify the secrets of their success (to learn more about their moel check out Learning in the Arena). Not surprisingly, at the heart of their model are two core commitments: a powerful strength-based approach to youth development coupled with a deeply personalized approach to learning.

(Learning in the Arena 2016: p. 15)

Over the next couple of years we hope to be able to share the stories of 4-5 additional mature CBE models who have found powerful ways to serve historically marginalized young people. If you know of such models whose story hasn’t yet been told, please let me know! antonia (at) reDesignu (dot) org

See also:

reDesign, LLC is an educational consulting practice developing new models, practices and resources to transform the educational opportunities of historically marginalized young people.