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Montgomery County Early College Case Study Report

Executive Summary

In Fall 2022, the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation partnered with Montgomery County Early College in Troy, NC to pilot two free online professional development courses for educators. The courses, Foundations of Learner Agency and Learner Agency in Practice, received funding support from the Oak Foundation and were developed by the Professional Learning and Leading Collaborative (PLLC) Team at the Friday Institute.

Montgomery County Early College staff had opportunities to receive professional development as well as hands-on learning opportunities from Friday Institute staff, many of whom are current or former educators. By piloting this program with all educators at the school, Montgomery County Early College can grow its already solid foundation to expand its learner agency work in the coming academic years.

During classroom and PLC observations, the researchers noted the importance of the school’s environment, including how it was set up, educators’ attitudes towards their students, transitions since the pandemic and student-teacher relationships. Further, the whole school’s staff participation in the learner agency professional development were key to successful implementation.

Several practices for engaging students and putting them at the center of their own learning stood out. The major findings included providing students with freedoms while maintaining a structure that is not too rigid, putting students at the forefront of decisions and choices, and encouraging students to take responsibility for their own learning to understand how their choices impact their future.

This research was made possible through generous support from Oak Foundation. Oak Foundation commits its resources to address issues of global, social and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged. More information about the Foundation may be found at

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Cover of Montgomery County Early College Case Study Report. The cover is red and features the report title and a large 2023 graphic


Callie Edwards

Director, Program Evaluation and Education Research


Briana Barrett

Graduate Research Assistant

Duncan Culbreth

Graduate Research Assistant

Stella Jackman-Ryan

Graduate Research Assistant