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County Supt. Visits Clifford School’s NUA Lab. Building Student Conviction, Capacity, and Confidence.

County Supt. Visits Clifford School’s NUA Lab. Building Student Conviction, Capacity, and Confidence.

Believing in one’s own strengths and abilities is a catalyst to boosting academic performance for students–and a belief in all students’ capabilities is an essential part of effectively serving Redwood City School District’s (RCSD) students.

But how can a teacher model and support growth in students’ unwavering self-confidence and self-actualization in the classroom? It’s more than a “can do” attitude … it’s an “I know I can do” state of mind.

San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee recently visited Clifford School to observe the strength-based strategies RCSD teachers are using in classrooms to close opportunity gaps.

Two Clifford students working on a project together

“What is happening in these classrooms is amazing,” remarked Magee describing the student excitement and engagement she witnessed while visiting several Clifford classrooms. 

“This has been really inspiring. This is education!”

Superintendent Magee joined RCSD Superintendent Dr. John Baker, Clifford School Principal Jude Noyes, and other leaders and guests during the school visit. She also had a conversation with Clifford teachers who have fully implemented the strength-based strategies.

Clifford School, a National Urban Alliance for Effective Education (NUA) lab school, has become a model for pedagogy that identifies and activates student strengths. NUA’s mission is to “substantiate an irrefutable belief in the capacity of all public school children to achieve the high intellectual performance demanded by our ever changing global community.”

The NUA strength-based strategies that Clifford teachers are using align with the District's Learner Framework goal to nurture students who are empowered learners, knowledge constructors, effective collaborators, and creative communicators.

The “Pedagogy of Confidence” involves three phases in understanding and learning: Developing, Deepening, and Demonstrating practices. 

Strategies include offering many thinking tools for student learning, allowing students agency to choose tools to reflect learning, and affirming student strengths. Students engage in reflective thinking about their learning and articulate personal learning goals resulting in an investment in their educational journey.

Teacher Overbey Leads her Class at Clifford School

Collaboration and professional development in these areas has proven to be wildly successful for staff and students as everyone works toward a common goal of long-term student success.

Ongoing work with NUA led to the creation of NUA Lab Schools such as Clifford’s. RCSD's goal is to provide these experiences and opportunities for every school site and to serve as a model for other local school districts.

Superintendent Baker Interacts with two Clifford Students