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The Success Bound curriculum was based on research and best practices around adolescent development, social & emotional learning (SEL), identity and cultural development, high school & postsecondary exploration, and foundational skill development for all learners. Engage with our interactive framework below to learn more.

The Success Bound Curriculum

The Success Bound Curriculum

The Success Bound curriculum was based on research and best practices around adolescent development, social & emotional learning (SEL), identity and cultural development, high school & postsecondary exploration, and foundational skill development for all learners. Engage with our interactive framework to learn more.


Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

CASEL Competencies

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. SEL can help address various forms of inequity and empower young people and adults to co-create thriving schools and contribute to safe, healthy, and just communities.

CASEL’s framework for social and emotional learning (SEL) addresses five broad and interrelated competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.


Healing-Centered Engagement

In keeping with the asset-based values present in other frameworks, our work draws upon an approach to trauma that focuses on healing-centered engagement (HCE). HCE offers a holistic, rather than clinical, approach to wellbeing that centers on identity and culture, collective healing, and directly addressing policies and practices that contribute to harm for individuals and communities (Ginwright, 2018).

Youth Thrive’s Framework to Help Adolescents Overcome Trauma and Thrive provides a list of protective and promotive factors to promote youth healing and wellbeing.


Foundational Skills Development

Universal Design for Learning Framework

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) guides the design of instructional goals, assessments, methods, and materials based on scientific insights into how humans learn. UDL principles emphasize the need for differentiation by providing multiple means of engagement, representation, and action & expression to address the “why,” “what,” and “how” of learning.

The engagement principle focuses on stimulating interest and motivation for learning. The representation principle emphasizes the presentation of information and content in different ways. The action & expression principle calls for differentiation in the ways that students can demonstrate what they know. The UDL Guidelines provide suggestions for integrating these principles in curriculum materials and learning environments.


Diverse Learners

In addition to using UDL to differentiate learning for diverse learners, empathy in design principles inform curriculum development through supports such as audiovisual transcripts, vocabulary support for information processing challenges, sentence starters for writing initiation, and technology tool tutorials. The POUR principles of designing for accessibility from the National Center on Accessible Education Materials further inform curriculum design decisions. While instructors may need to adapt materials or instruction to meet the needs for individual students according to IEPs or 504 plans, universal tools and accommodations such as modified worksheets and materials, will be embedded in the curriculum to enhance accessibility for all students.


Multilingual Learners

Drawing upon WIDA’s English Language Development (ELD) Standards Framework, supports for multilingual and English learners in the curriculum center on equity and fostering the assets, contributions, and potential of multilingual learners. Primary strategies include providing opportunities for learners of various proficiencies to: express ideas in their home languages; use both receptive (listening and reading) and productive (speaking and writing) communication skills through narrating, informing, explaining, and arguing; and engage in flexible discussion formats to support oral language development.


High School and Postsecondary Exploration

Employability Skills Framework

This framework was developed by RTI International and the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education. This framework recognizes that individuals require many skills to be college and career ready, including academic knowledge, technical expertise, and employability skills.

Employability Skills consist of Applied Knowledge (integration of academic and critical thinking skills in the workplace), Effective Relationships (interpersonal skills and personal qualities that promote collaboration and individual growth), and Workplace Skills (ability to accomplish work tasks through resource management, information use, and communication skills).


Postsecondary and Career Expectations (PACE)

The Illinois Postsecondary and Career Expectations (PACE) framework supports students in making informed decisions about postsecondary education pathways that align with their careers of interest. The framework emphasizes three key learning domains to support the postsecondary transition: postsecondary education exploration, preparation, and selection; career exploration and development; financial aid and literacy.

As a Chicago-based organization, Success Bound also references the College and Career Competency Curriculum (C4), which builds on the PACE framework and is championed by Chicago Public Schools. The C4 model provides guidance for curating learning experiences that help students gain the applied skills necessary to succeed in both college and career pathways.


American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Student Standards: Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success

The ASCA Student Standards offer detailed descriptions of the knowledge, attitudes, and skills students need to achieve academic success, college and career readiness, and social/emotional development. The standards are based on a survey of research about best practices in student achievement and consist of six mindset standards and 30 behavior standards categorized as either learning strategies, self-management skills, or social skills.


Adolescent Development

Adolescent Development

Early Adolescence (ages 10-15) is characterized as a time of immense physical, neurobiological, and psychosocial development. It is a time when young people experience an extraordinary amount of growth, second only to the time period between ages 0-3. Therefore, programming to support positive youth development for this age group must provide opportunities for: exploring personal identity and sense of self; developing supportive relationships with adults and peers; fostering adaptive skills to navigate challenges; and building agency around future planning and decision-making in academic and personal contexts. Incorporating these elements helps establish safe and supportive learning environments where adolescents experience a sense of competence, autonomy, and belonging.

Success Bound draws upon insights from Remaking Middle School out of the University of Virginia Youth-Next Center to Promote Effective Youth Development, the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE), and the Promise of Adolescence Report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. AMLE’s landmark position paper, The Successful Middle School: This We Believe, provides a framework for creating responsive and equitable learning environments with structures, supports, and practices proven to be most effective with adolescents.


Identity and Cultural Development

Building Equitable Learning Environments (BELE) Framework

Designing equitable learning experiences is essential for addressing the unique needs of individual students. Such an approach requires acknowledging challenges and barriers specific to marginalized and underserved groups of students. The Building Equitable Learning Environments (BELE) Framework identifies 4 essential learning contexts and conditions: Teaching and Learning, Schoolwide Systems and Structures, Family Caregiver & Community Partnerships, and District and State Policies.

Within the context of Teaching and Learning, instructors should adhere to five core commitments: utilizing student feedback to guide instruction, delivering asset-based feedback to support student growth, building a sense of community in the classroom, allowing for student agency, and affirming and supporting students’ cultures and identities.


Social Justice Standards from Learning for Justice

Facilitating learning experiences that are rooted in anti-biased pedagogy is imperative for supporting students of all backgrounds. The Social Justice Standards, crafted by Learning for Justice and based on Louise Derman-Sparks’ goals for anti bias education, serve as a helpful guide for creating curricula and learning experiences that are both just and equitable. These standards fall under four domains; identity, diversity, justice, and action. These domains help students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to address and reduce prejudice and engage in collective action.


Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy

Culturally relevant pedagogy focuses on helping students become academically successful, cultivate positive cultural identities, and develop a critical consciousness (Ladson-Billings,1995). Culturally responsive teaching refers to instruction based on understanding and appreciation of students’ personal cultural knowledge to use students’ prior knowledge and culture in teaching (Gay, 2010). Culturally sustaining pedagogy emphasizes the preservation of heritage, values, culture, and linguistic pluralism (Paris & Alim, 2017).

The Success Bound curriculum draws upon the work of these scholars and of others such as Gholdy Muhammad and Zaretta Hammond by adopting an asset-based approach that recognizes cultural identity factors (including race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, language, social class, gender, sexual orientation, and ability) as sources of strength in individuals and communities. The Intercultural Development Research Association’s framework of four leverage points (IDRA, 2020) shapes both curriculum and programmatic elements around culturally sustaining practices.