P4: Personal Power and Purpose Through Partnership

Home / Initiatives / P4: Personal Power and Purpose Through Partnership



P4: Personal Power and Purpose Through Partnership

PERSONAL POWER AND PURPOSE THROUGH PARTNERSHIP (P4) harnesses elements of the experiential learning cycle to increase relevance, relationships, rigor, and shared responsibility in the learning process. Self- awareness, empowerment, and empathy-building are primary goals of this middle level advisory program.

Leadership is not just about being a good facilitator, having a strong speaking voice, and knowing how to manage a group and motivate others. True leadership is knowing how to exercise and embrace one’s inherent personal power, while respecting and encouraging the personal power of others. Throughout P4, multiple strategies (trauma-sensitive practices, restorative practice, responsive classroom practices, etc.) are woven together with intention. The goal of P4 is to teach and model skills for self-awareness, effective communication, and self-advocacy in ways that are accessible and sensitive to individual learners. When students develop the skills to recognize, understand, and address their own needs, they are better able to take risks as learners, and are more confident in their abilities to contribute to the learning community.

The purpose of P4 is to provide middle-level educators with structured opportunities to:

  • Strengthen students’ executive function and self-regulation skills.
  • Increase student empathy, independence, perseverance, responsibility, and engagement in learning.
  • Teach specific skills for leadership, facilitation, and teamwork.
  • Celebrate diversity and individuality through the lens and practices of equity.
  • Enrich current pedagogical practices with more strategies for student-centered decision-making.
  • Connect transferable skills to proficiency-based graduation requirements.
  • Increase student exposure to a language of learning that promotes one’s ability to understand and embrace agency (the ability to make intentional choices about, and take an active role in, the course of one’s own life and on behalf of the lives of others).
  • Support the development of Personal Learning Plans and strengthen communication with families and the community.
  • Engage in Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) and project-based learning.
  • Support the transition and academic readiness of students as they prepare for the progression from middle level to high school.
  • Work in collaboration with any existing Responsive Classroom/Developmental Design, mindfulness, personalized learning, and restorative school practices.

The components of the P4 PLC include:

  • A comprehensive guide of suggested lessons, activities, and classroom structures to facilitate student learning experiences.
  • A vital professional learning community of all adults involved in this work. Monthly (or bi-monthly) afternoon class meetings on your school campus with your colleagues and UP facilitators.
  • Quality training and support, including on and off-site consultation and coaching.

The P4 Initiative requires middle level teams who are committed to supporting young adolescents in an advisory structure. Participating P4 schools are committed to sustaining a school team that will focus on developing a strong advisory

program through an exploration of community values, commitments, and personal power. The team will also engage in the youth participatory action-research cycle to enhance student engagement in learning and student involvement in school decision-making.

“The heart of a successful advisory program is the development of a trustful, caring community in which students perceive their advisor as demonstrating unconditional support for their growth.” 

Knowles & Brown
What Every Middle School Teacher Should Know