Empowerment Starts Here:

Seven Principles to Empowering Urban Youth

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Written By: Angela Dye, M.Ed.

The scope of this book covers an experimental approach to social change within urban communities by way of seven distinct principles for student empowerment. Turning classroom methods (based on these seven principles) into a school model, Preparatory School for Global Leadership was the first school to experience student empowerment at a school-wide level.

For individuals looking to increase the efficacy and achievement of at-risk learners, this book provides insight on how. Not only are instructional methodologies discussed, but stories are shared to help the reader gain a deeper understanding of the psychological, social and political challenges associated with real school reform.

Empowerment Starts Here - A Detailed Table of Contents

Prologue: A Childhood Vision

This initial chapter is personal in nature in that it profiles the author’s journey as an educator. By explaining her own experiences as an urban, at-risk youth to her successful work as an urban classroom teacher, the chapter describes the birth of a curriculum model (SBC) and a school (PSGL) that employed seven distinct principles of student empowerment.

Chapter 1: The Construct of Empowerment

This chapter presents empowerment as a philosophy as well as an instructional framework. In addition, this chapter describes the phenomenon of learned helplessness and how empowerment directly combats it.  Finally, the seven principles and tenets of empowerment (profiled in chapters 2 through 7) are introduced.

Chapter 2: Project Based Learning and Empowerment

This chapter profiles a specific way to connect urban, at-risk learners with project based learning. While most students suffering from learned helplessness are not able to work independently, PSGL’s programming truly built autonomy as well as global awareness among its students.

Chapter 3: Service Learning and Empowerment

This chapter examines service learning as a way to empower students. In it, the unique way power was shared and transferred to students is discussed. In addition, a rationale is provided in how this new approach to student relations (via student power) can serve as leverage to engage typically disenfranchised students into the learning process.

Chapter 4: The Mission and Additional Programming

Chapter 4 serves as a transitional chapter between progressive programming and traditional programming.  In this chapter, the need for curricular supports is championed in order to enhance school-wide student achievement.

Chapter 5: Direct Instruction and Empowerment

This chapter looks at how to build basic skills as a foundational aspect of empowerment. This chapter outlines specific techniques used to teach student mastery and retention within core subjects such as reading, writing and math.

Chapter 6: Assessments and Empowerment

This chapter digests how to measure growth and looks at the function of district tests in relation to empowerment.

Chapter 7: Accountability and Empowerment

This chapter looks at the role of student accountability as it relates to their achievement and their empowerment. While behavior management is discussed, chapter eight makes a case for student accountability that extends beyond management. In it, there are specific methods for empowerment that center on students’ self-awareness and ownership of their choices.

Chapter 8: The Politics of Empowerment

This chapter presents the behind the scenes work with empowerment. While most of the chapters deal with the principles and methods of empowerment, chapter 8 looks at the paradigms and social constructs of public education and social change (as it relates to empowerment).

Chapter 9: The Results of Empowerment

This chapter examines the results of empowerment as it relates to the scholarship, citizenship and personal ownership of students. In this chapter, quantitative data and qualitative experiences are presented that proves the impact that empowerment can have on student achievement.

Epilogue: A Charge to Urban Educators

The book ends with an empowerment mandate to the reader.


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About the Author

Angela Dye prides herself on being a product of the urban environment and has a background that personally relates to the at-risk learners she serves.

With degrees in education and social science, Angela identifies as being a social change agent.  As an author, teacher and entrepreneur, her career choices have always centered on empowering individuals who have been socially marginalized and politically disenfranchised.

Through lessons grounded in constructivist thinking, global leadership and personal responsibility, she has developed an instructional process that embraces seven distinct principles of empowerment. Angela is working on her doctorate in education where she seeks to strengthen this framework while studying the social constructs of academic achievement.

Using her graduate studies, professional experiences, and personal life story, Angela is currently launching a consulting practice to promote student empowerment and social change.