Connecting Students’ Futures to Their Learning

By: | January 5, 2019
District Name: Connecting Students’ Futures to Their Learning
District State: Ohio
District Website:

Engaging students by connecting learning to their future career goals with small groups creates unique success at Cuyahoga Falls City School District in Ohio.

The district developed small learning communities in grades 7 through 12, teaching traditional curriculum through the lenses of student interests, says Superintendent Todd Nichols.

The learning communities are based on four academies, or “dens.” Students work with the same cadre of teachers for English, math, science and social studies. Teachers get to really know their students, who are now more likely to persist and learn because instruction aligns more closely with their interests.

Cuyahoga’s “freshman experience” provides unique instructions that students can use to determine specific pathways for junior and senior years.

The district also relies on the greater Akron community to inject real-world experiences into the curriculum. And now, local businesses are receiving young employees who have the skills necessary to lead their organizations in future years.

The program has also reduced suspension rates by 15 percent and increased attendance rates by 10 percent. And students testing at an accelerated level went from just two in 2014 to 459 in 2015.