Leading with Purpose: Learner Agency for Marginalized Students

The Leading with Purpose: Learner Agency for Marginalized Students module is a self-paced online learning opportunity designed for school and district leaders to increase their foundational knowledge of learner agency and better understand the conditions that foster learner agency for marginalized students.

With feedback from educational leaders and equity advocates, our team at the Friday Institute developed this module as a guide for creating change within your school or district that positively impacts the learning experiences and life opportunities for students from marginalized groups. Additionally, based on feedback, we designed nearly every section with a number of choices. You have the "agency" to choose what you want to learn and how you want to learn it.

Throughout the learning experience, you will be engaging with peers from across the country and around the world in our forums and interactive activities. To expand the impact and learning opportunity in the module, we encourage you to grab at least one trusted colleague and go through this experience together. You will still be learning and growing if you complete this module independently; however, the added benefit of a trusted colleague would help both of you challenge each other’s thinking, brainstorm innovative ideas, and design a culture that fosters learner agency for marginalized students.

Join us today!

Course Objectives

  • Recognize the unique importance of learner agency to historically marginalized students.
  • Collect and analyze data on the experiences of marginalized students in your school or district.
  • Explore the mindsets, skills, and contexts that support learner agency for marginalized students.
  • Create a plan for implementing change in your building.
  • Promote equity and inclusivity in educational practices in your school or district.

Learn More

There are five sections in our Leading with Purpose: Learner Agency for Marginalized Students module that will guide your learning.

  • Getting Started: Exploring Learner Agency
  • Section 1: Defining Learner Agency?
  • Section 2: Exploring Perspectives
  • Section 3: Learn From Your Students
  • Section 4: Analyzing My Data
  • Section 5: Taking Action

Participants will have the opportunity to earn a certificate of completion for ten hours of professional development during the Learner Agency for Marginalized Students module.

In order to earn a certificate, participants must:

  • As part of the registration process, complete an initial survey about your background, organization, and goals for engaging in this online learning experience.
  • Explore and apply resources and strategies to your context and students.
  • Contribute to the forums by asking questions, responding to others' questions, and sharing ideas; agreeing with or identifying comments as insightful; suggesting resources that will be useful to others; and sharing your expertise in other ways. A certificate of completion requires one original post and 2 replies in each discussion forum.
  • Complete a final survey at the end of the course and provide suggestions for improving it in the future.

You can submit the certificate to your local agency with a request for CEUs. Granting of CEUs will be subject to the policies and procedures of your state and local agency.

Alex Dreier

Alex Dreier

Alex Dreier was previously the Instructional Design Lead at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation. He has over 15 years of experience in designing learning environments that meet the needs of all students, specifically initiatives around social and emotional learning, learning differences, competency-based learning for educators, digital learning, and more. He was previously the PI on a multi-year, million dollar Oak Foundation grant that supports educators in creating learning environments to support all of their students. He was also the Co-PI on an NSF-Funded project to create a personalized professional learning portal for teaching statistics. Prior to this, Alex spent five years managing the Friday Institute's MOOCs-for-Educators initiative, which continues to meet the needs of a global audience of tens of thousands of educators using research-based practices for professional learning. Before coming to the Institute, he managed the online professional learning courses for EdTech Leaders Online at Education Development Center (EDC), helping build the capacity of organizations to build and support their own online learning programs. Alex holds a B.A. from Tulane University and an Ed.M. in Technology, Innovation, and Education from Harvard University.

Dr. Callie Edwards

Dr. Callie Edwards

Dr. Callie Womble Edwards is an Educational Researcher with a multidisciplinary background in public health, workforce development, learning outcomes assessment, and program evaluation. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Research and Policy Analysis from North Carolina State University (NCSU) and a M.P.H. in Health Behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since 2018, Dr. Edwards has served as a Research Associate at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, where she evaluates educational initiatives using quantitative and qualitative methodologies. She currently leads eight Friday Institute research and evaluation projects, including one multi-district evaluation and three multi-school evaluations. As Project Lead, she is responsible for planning, management, and day-to-day operations, and she is also the main point of contact for the internal NCSU team, external partners, and clients. A major aspect of Dr. Edwards’ work is developing and maintaining effective research-practice partnerships (RPPs) with schools and districts. She also directs the Friday Institute’s inaugural Educational Research and Evaluation Internship Program for undergraduate students. Recently, Dr. Edwards was nominated for the 2020 NC State University Award for Excellence, the most prestigious honor bestowed upon non-faculty employees. Prior to joining the Friday Institute, she served as a Research Specialist at the North Carolina Department of Commerce, and a Research Assistant in the Office of Assessment at NCSU.

Dr. Patricia Hilliard

Dr. Patricia Hilliard

Dr. Patricia Hilliard serves as a Research Scholar at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University. She works with school districts to design, develop and deliver professional learning for teachers, administrators, and instructional support staff. Dr. Hilliard led the NC Conference for Educational Equity which brought together more than 2,000 educators. The conference challenged them to rethink their current practices, disrupt our broken system, and create equitable practices and policies to better support each and every student. She earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Urban Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has been a high school teacher, university instructor, lead instructor and instructional coach. Additionally, Patricia has presented at numerous conferences and written several blogs for Edutopia and Digital Learning Collaborative. Connect with her on Twitter @HilliardPhD.

Brittany Miller

Brittany Miller, M.Ed.

Brittany Miller works to inspire teachers to rethink their roles in the classroom and build their capacity for student-centered learning by first engaging teachers in the types of experiences and environments that show them how. This mindset drives her projects at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, the research arm of the College of Education at NC State University, where she supports schools and districts across North Carolina and beyond who are integrating student centered pedagogies and reworking their school and classroom cultures to champion the whole learner.

Blake Wiggs

Blake Wiggs

Blake Wiggs is a research scholar with the Friday Institute where he partners with districts to design adult learning experiences for teachers, coaches and administrators. His responsive approach to facilitation is informed by his experience with community organizing, social justice education and anti-racist affinity work. He received both his M.A. in teaching and B.A. in anthropology from East Carolina University and is currently pursuing his Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. His research is largely linguistic, focusing on the relationship between language, ideology and power. Most recently, he is conducting research in Peru and collaborating with Unlocking Silent Histories to make culturally sustaining practices visible through community-led voice.

Available On Demand
Duration 5 sections
Cost Free
Primary Audience K-12 Administrators
Certificate Available Yes
Certificate Hours 10
Developers Alex Dreier
Dr. Callie Edwards
Dr. Patricia Hilliard
Brittany Miller
Blake Wiggs
Start Date 01/22/2024