About Us

Empowerment Collaborative

Instructional Principles

We believe that learning is transformed by using the following guiding principles with our students. Schools use our set of nine instructional protocols to direct their planning and choices as they pursue their vision to become Empowerment Collaborative schools. An additional set of commitments guide the district in supporting schools and communities as they redesign the school environment.

Simulated Workplace Environments



Classrooms become student-led “workplaces” to develop skills and dispositions needed in the world of work.

Authentic Learning and Assessment



Students engage in real-world problem solving as the approach to learning.

Career Mindsets



Students see personal possibilities in careers.

Empowerment Skills

We envision schools that leverage simulated workplace enviornments, authentic learning and assessment, and career mindsets. Graduates from our schools will possess the following skills.

Critical Thinking

The empowered student synthesizes knowledge and design process to respond to problems, empathize with needs, build solutions, and reflect on their metacognition. 


The empowered student demonstrates authentic independence and advocates for themself. They determine what they value, how they want to grow, and set and pursue a vision. They seek to understand themself and how they contribute to society (e.g. through career, service, innovation, creation). They recognize their successes and failures and can reflect and analyze how risk, work, failure, revision, and persistence contribute to personal growth.


The empowered student understands the power of information and crafts messages to represent themself, serve purposes, and respond to needs. They reflect on the way others see them and seek to grow in public writing, speaking, and self-presentation. 


The empowered student is accountable to all members of a team. They are aware of the role their presence, work ethic, and contributions have on the team’s success. As team members and leaders, they seek consensus, manage and follow norms, and motivate each other. 


What People Are Saying

I have never been more excited about an initiative than what I see happening with the empowerment districts and the work that you’re leading. You are shaping the future of education, and you’re doing it at a critical time: a time for our students when they need it the most, a time for the education system which needs a rethink, and a time for the state of West Virginia.

Brad Smith

Executive Board Chairman, Intuit

We wanted to prove to them that learning doesn’t have to happen in the classroom, and this is the perfect example of that.

Charles Thomas

Principal, Arnoldsburg Elementary School in response to his students experiencing Calhoun Middle School students’ Molasses Festival Display

We have learned how to work together, as a group, and use teamwork to overcome obstacles. We have also learned how hard it is to be a member in a group, but we still overcome those challenges. In the past few months we have learned many facts about medical professions, but the most important thing we have learned is the value of friendship, teamwork, and cooperation.
Branson Broyles

Student, Peterstown Middle School

I love what you’re doing with the Empowerment Districts: You’re creating makers and dreamers and doers, and then they can choose the path that best suits their skills, and they can impact the world as a result.

Brad Smith

Executive Board Chairman, Intuit

Partners and Collaborators

Michelle Blatt

West Virginia State Superintendent
West Virginia Department of Education

Michael Fitzwater

Calhoun County Schools

Gary Hough

Fayette County Schools

Joetta Basile
Monroe County Schools

Steve Freshour
Empowerment Academy Pilot Design Team Member