Skip to content

When Every Student Thrives, a School is Transformed

When Every Student Thrives,   a School is Transformed

What Drives Us

Optimal Learning Environments

An NTC-partnered school system builds an ecosystem of empathy and humanity that responds to the needs of every learner. And educators are learners, too.

You want your students to succeed. And we all know that many school systems underserve BIPOC students, students with learning differences, students experiencing poverty, immigrant students, and English-language learners. That’s why our partnerships work to create educational ecosystems that serve these populations.

In our vision, school ecosystems deliver ever-present attention to equity, continuous academic success, and social and emotional growth. Every young person feels seen, connected, and challenged to succeed academically, and student-teacher trust is unshakable. 

We call it an Optimal Learning Environment.

What Drives Us

An Optimal Learning Environment is:

01

Emotionally, Intellectually, and Physically Safe

  • Classroom relationships are based on trust and caring, and on an understanding that learning is fundamentally sociocultural.
  • Teacher-student and student-student interactions are fully connected and safe.
  • Developmentally appropriate self-awareness, positive identity formation, sense of purpose, effort, and supported risk-taking are all promoted and nurtured.

An Optimal Learning Environment is:

02

Equitable, Culturally Responsive, and Standards-Aligned

  • Students are introduced to relevant and challenging content, aligned to grade-level standards.
  • Teachers possess cultural competence and draw on data and their own empathy to elevate the value of multiple perspectives.
  • Learning differences, productive struggle, and learner agency are valued and prioritized.

An Optimal Learning Environment is:

03

Tuned to the Diverse Needs of All Learners

  • Multiple learning pathways center and advance the innate giftedness of every child.
  • Executive function skills, including goal orientation, self-monitoring, and direction, are fostered.
  • Scaffolds for learning – including modeling, strategic grouping, sequenced questioning, timely feedback, and well-designed practice opportunities – are present and sturdy.

To create an OLE:

Understand who you are as an educator, including the lens and potential biases that you bring to your practice and students.

Understand what students have mastered and what they need to master to be on grade level.

Understand what students need to know to be prepared for college, life, and career.

Use the curriculum and standards to plan units and lessons that are reflective of grade-level standards.

Use data-driven, research-based instructional and engagement practices to deliver units and lessons.

Provide effective engagement strategies and scaffolds that ensure all learners have access to the rigor of the standards.

What Drives Us

Outcomes of Optimal Learning Environments

More learning

01

More learning

More learning

The data prove that the key driver of student academic performance is a culturally relevant, socially appropriate and academically challenging educational environment.

Increased equity

02

Increased equity

Increased equity

By teaching to and centering the unique gifts and needs of every student, and by elevating the empathy of every educator, Optimal Learning Environments create a higher level of opportunity, engagement, rigor, and humanity for all.

Stronger instructional practice

03

Stronger instructional practice

Stronger instructional practice

When the environment is positive, secure, and engaged, and when students thrive, teachers feel more fulfilled in their work and stay in their schools longer.

Healthier ecosystems

04

Healthier ecosystems

Healthier ecosystems

Schools that grow equity and academic performance, integrate instructional practice, and connect and support all educators across disciplines, are sustainable for years to come.

Learn more about NTC
Field-Tested Innovation
Field-Tested Innovation

For 20 years we’ve pushed on what’s possible with professional learning.

EXPLORE OUR HISTORY
Humanizing Education
Humanizing Education

We support students by empowering educators at every level.

DISCOVER OUR COMMUNITY
Ideas That Work
Ideas That Work

We put our beliefs to work in schools every day.

PARTNER WITH US