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Teaching to Empower: Taking Action to Foster Student Agency, Self-Confidence, and Collaboration


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We want students to master academic standards, and we want them to be confident, adaptive, and socially responsible. Above all, we want them to find meaning and satisfaction in their lives. Achieving these goals requires a concerted focus on the social-emotional skills that empower students in and beyond the classroom.

Table of contents

Starting with Ourselves

Creating a Physical Environment That Supports Empowerment

About the authors

Debbie Zacarian is known for her expertise in strengths-based leadership, instructional practices, and partnerships with culturally and linguistically diverse student and family populations. As founder of Zacarian & Associates and with more than three decades of combined experience as a district administrator, University of Massachusetts-Amherst faculty member, and educational service leader, she provides sustained policy and practice supports for educators that help them work more successfully with diverse student and family populations to strengthen achievement and outcomes. Her work credo is "achievement through access, equity, and engagement."

Zacarian was the founder and director of the Center for English Language Education and Advancing Student Achievement at the Collaborative for Educational Services. As founding director of Amherst Public Schools bilingual and English learner program, she and the district received many local, state, and national honors for its work with English learners. Zacarian has authored multiple books and more than 100 journal articles and educational policies for urban, suburban, and rural districts and state agencies.


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Topics in this book

Social-emotional learning

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