The New ABCs

The new ABCs are an expansion of the Attendance, Behavior, and Course Performance ABCs for developing our capacities for Agency, Belonging, and Connectedness to nurture a culture of joy in our school communities and allow schools to be joyful places where all want to be.


Agency is about acting rather than being acted upon – fully participating as an equal and contributing member of a community that shares a common goal or purpose. Agency is the capability to make choices and take an active role in one’s own life path.


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.


We connect naturally. We are hard wired to connect. We are all connected. What intentional environments craft is meaning and purpose Authentic connections happen when we are curious and open to relating without an agenda about the outcome. Connections vary in intensity and length.

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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