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Partnering With Students

Building Ownership of Learning
By: Mary Jane O'Connell, Kara Vandas

Foreword by Larry Ainsworth

Build learner capacity and create a classroom culture where students take the lead by encouraging them to become full-fledged partners in the learning process.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781483371382
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2015
  • Page Count: 224
  • Publication date: April 16, 2015

Price: $32.95

Price: $32.95
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Empower students to own their learning

The world today needs students prepared to set goals, to fail, to get up and try a new strategy, to fail again, and to persist until their goals are realized. Therefore, we must ask, “Are all students in our classrooms equipped with the skills and confidence to take ownership of their learning? If not, what can we do to change that?”

Building on the work of John Hattie, Larry Ainsworth, and other leaders in the field, Partnering With Students: Building Ownership of Learning offers a powerful framework to accelerate student motivation and learning. This resource is designed to empower teachers and leaders with strategies to develop learners who have the confidence and tools to engage in any challenge. By flipping the focus to student ownership of learning, the authors provide clear and simple ways to:

  • Develop collaborative relationships
  • Jointly establish clear expectations for learning and criteria for success
  • Intentionally build learner strategies that last a lifetime
  • Use formative assessment results to monitor progress
  • Harness the power of reciprocal feedback to improve teaching and learning
  • Empower and motivate students set meaningful goals and prove learning

When students are invited to partner and share in the responsibility of learning, they become our greatest allies, and we will learn as much from them as they will learn from us.

"O’Connell and Vandas provide a wealth of information to educators, proving that it is not only important to be student-focused, but essential if students are to reach their fullest potential. In an era where we seemingly complicate things because we can, it is refreshing to see a book like this that is clearly written, driven by commonsense, evidenced by good practice, and supported with tools and clear examples.”
— Russell J. Quaglia, President/Founder
Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations

“An extremely rich resource for educators who genuinely want to empower students to be successful in college AND careers. The research-supported strategies put forth press educators to engage in deep reflection and analysis of their personal beliefs and practices, while equipping them with practical techniques to engage students in rigorous, relevant ways in the classroom."
— Kim S. Benton, Chief Academic Officer, Deputy State Superintendent
Mississippi Department of Education

Key features

  • Shows how to develop the students’ role as a full-fledged partner in the learning process.
  • Offers a practical step by step process to enhance student empowerment
  • Based on the work of Hattie and Ainsworth
  • Includes several examples to support the reader
  • Offers visual diagrams of key ideas


Mary Jane O'Connell photo

Mary Jane O'Connell

Mary Jane O’Connell brings a unique practitioner’s perspective to her work with educators. She has seven years of classroom teaching experience and over twenty years of experience as a building principal in year-round schools ranging in size from 450 to 980 students. Since 2007, she has served as a consultant working with teachers at all levels, building administrators, and central office staff in a variety of urban, suburban and rural settings. Mary Jane has presented numerous seminars throughout the United States and volunteered for two weeks in Zambia to work with college professors desirous of improving their teacher-training programs. It is particularly rewarding when there is an opportunity to establish a relationship and partnership with others that leads to significant increases in student learning.

Mary Jane holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of California, Northridge and a Master’s degree from the University of Colorado in Educational Administration. Mary Jane has personal experience with year-round education, opening new schools, and has implemented the principles of Continuous Quality Improvement embedded in the National Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence.

Sedalia, Colorado is home for Mary Jane. In addition to being an avid reader and worldwide traveler, she enjoys the winters skiing with family and friends. During the summer months Mary Jane and her husband live near Big Sky, Montana on the Gallatin River. They are fly fishing enthusiasts and open their home to many friends who share their passion for fishing. The O’Connells have four grown children, three grandchildren, and two Labradors who continue to keep the household buzzing with excitement.

Kara Vandas photo

Kara Vandas

Kara Vandas is an educator with an enduring passion for empowering learners. She began her career in education at an alternative school for youth at-risk. Kara spent several more years in the classroom in public education as a middle and high school educator and then transitioned to coaching and professional learning positions that allowed her to support teachers and leaders. Her current role as an author and consultant takes her around the world to partner with schools and school districts. She also presents nationally and internationally at conferences, with a focus on learner agency and efficacy.

Kara is the co-author of Partnering with Students: Building Ownership of Learning and holds a Master’s degree of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Regis University. She has worked in K-12 education for nearly 20 years with a focus in instruction, curriculum design, using data to drive instruction, science education, learning environments, formative assessment, Visible Learning, and more. She also volunteers as a board member at her child’s local school, where she and her family live in Castle Rock, Colorado. She loves the outdoors and spends much of her free time with family and friends.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Foreword by Larry Ainsworth


About the Authors

Introduction: Finding True North


1. Defining Collaborative Relationships for Learning

2. Defining Essential Learnings

3. Defining Criteria for Success


4. Learner Strategies for Life

5. Learning Through Effective Feedback


6. Retracing Evidence to Prove and Extend Learning

7. Retracing and Extending the Process: A Summary to Guide Teachers and Leaders

Study Guide



List of Figures





Price: $32.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.

Related Resources

  • Access to companion resources is available with the purchase of this book.