The “B” of the New ABCs


Belonging means having a meaningful voice and the opportunity to participate in the design of political, social, and cultural structures that shape one’s life — the right to both contribute and make demands upon society and political institutions. Our schools have often functioned as though belonging is conditional and achievement is the evidence one is worthy of belonging. This has not served anyone well.


Being accepted as you truly are and as an equal participant in how things are created.


Brené Brown on Empathy

In this beautifully animated RSA Short, Dr Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave enough to really get in touch with our own fragilities.

Building a Belonging Classroom

In order to learn, students need to feel safe, cared for, and emotionally connected to their teachers and each other. This Edutopia video shares some ideas for building belonging in the classroom.

Online Resources

Bridging Differences Playbook

How do we build bridges when we are trying to create a sense of belonging in our school? How do we belong to a collective group with so many differences? This Berkeley playbook describes the process of bridging differences.

Liberatory Design Deck

Looking for a place to start a co-designing session with staff or students? Here is a way to get started with co-designing using the Liberatory Design Deck.

How to Create a Sense of Belonging in Schools

How do you cultivate a sense of belonging in schools? The Edvocate offers tips to get started.

Stories From the Field: Building Strong Relationships

Why do teacher-student relationships matter? How can we foster a sense of belonging that allows students to feel like they truly belong in the classroom? This brief from Transforming Education offers strategies for the teacher-student relationship.

The Belonging Barometer

This report calls attention to belonging as a factor that matters deeply for leaders and stakeholders across diverse sectors. We make the case for including belonging in the design and implementation of programs and policies across all areas of life in the United States.

Structures for Belonging

A Synthesis of Research on Belonging-Supportive Learning Environments.

The Importance of Student Sense of Belonging

Sense of belonging refers to the extent to which students feel personally accepted, included, and supported at school, and includes school-based experiences, students’ relationships with teachers and peers, and students’ general feelings about school.

A podcast hosted by Robert Balfanz,
director of the Everyone Graduates Center.

Conversations with leaders in education from around the country on bold new ideas and research-based strategies for redesigning American education to more effectively engage all students and equip them for the challenges of today’s workplace and world.

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