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Alexis Simpson's Knapp Classroom is More Student Led

Sometimes part of being a good leader is recognizing leadership qualities in others, a concept one Knapp Charter Academy teacher has taken to a new level.

In her second year at Knapp, Alexis Simpson, eighth-grade English language arts teacher, is trying out new ways to engage her class, including showcasing student work and creating a student-led environment.

“Mrs. Simpson is a leader for her teammates and a positive role model for her students,” said Brad Agee, middle school dean at Knapp. “She pushes everyone to do their best and draws the excellence out of all students.”

When a student illustrates exceptional work, she asks permission to display what they’ve done on a Hollywood movie-themed bulletin board for the class to see. To encourage her students to congratulate their peers, she dedicated a part of her room for this purpose, called “Now Showing: Our Best Work”. This is just one way she has begun to cultivate a student-led classroom.

In each of her classes, she enlists three student advisors who are chosen because they follow the Knapp School-wide Behavior Expectations chart, exemplify the Moral Focus virtues, actively participate in class, and model how Mrs. Simpson would like her students to act and treat others in her classroom.

Knapp teacher Alexis Simpson

Her motivation to create a student-led environment stems from the idea of having students who self-advocate and learn to be more autonomous learners, friends, and students. Her student advisors showcase positive qualities so others will know what it looks like. She even gathers feedback from her advisors on class participation, work, and assignments, so she can incorporate elements that the class enjoys.

“Creating a student-led classroom will help my students to become self-motivated, and that will encourage others to want to work harder too,” said Mrs. Simpson. “It limits the amount of discipline issues or boredom in class, and keeps the students driven because then I am able to focus on learning, individual student-teacher help, and creating more critical/higher thinkers.”

Alexis Simpson teaching

Mrs. Simpson also developed a writing center in her classroom where students are able to work with her individually on their writing, which she believes creates good habits for students to seek help when needed and be their own advocates for success.

Keep up the excellent work, Mrs. Simpson!
Alexis Simpson grading assignments