About Remaking Middle School


With powerful research on positive youth development, Youth-Nex is seeking to ignite conversation, action, and a movement to re-envision and remake the middle school experience in a way that recognizes the strengths of all young adolescents. Middle school can both reflect the developmental changes that youth experience—and reinforce their strengths; autonomy, creative thinking, innovation, and activism, to name a few.

In the middle school years, young people find their voice, experience new learning, and develop strong relationships. It is a wonderfully complex time of life.

It's also a developmental stage when youth often feel unsure of themselves. They face a dizzying pace of cognitive, social, physical, emotional, and neurological changes that can open up new worlds--but also present new challenges to navigate. These changes are even more significant when we consider the added pressure on youth that their actions can have a long-lasting impact on their trajectory to and through college or career. 

How can we then create and build the learning space in our middle schools that support their growing sense of independence, emerging interest in building long-standing relationships, and truly address the changes unfolding in their brains and bodies?

“With powerful research on positive youth development, we can remake the middle school experience in a way that recognizes the strengths of our youth.”

The Vision


Youth-Nex is beginning to fulfill that promise through a multi-phase initiative, elevating the innovation that is present in middle schools across the country and soliciting national input on how we ensure all students thrive in, and grow from, their experience in the middle grades. The Remaking Middle School Initiative is an emerging partnership working to build and steward a new collective effort for young adolescent learning and development. Working alongside partners in the field, we are aiming to build a national action agenda, outlining how to implement initiatives and innovations that can make those changes a reality. Middle school can both reflect the developmental changes that youth experience—and reinforce their strengths; autonomy, connectedness, active learning, innovation, and activism to name a few.

Through this initiative, Youth-Nex will


  • Number 1

    Elevate the importance of middle school and realize its promise for all students.

  • Number 2

    Highlight and disseminate existing research that the education field can use to ensure middle school better aligns with our youths' developmental needs.

  • Number 3

    Establish the conditions for adults in the classroom and school building to shape educational experiences that elevate our youths' strengths.

Partner with us


Remaking middle school requires a collective effort--from those in the school building and across the community to those in the state legislature. With your support, we can fulfill the promise that middle school can offer. Join us by signing up online.

About Youth-Nex


Youth-Nex, The UVA Center to Promote Effective Youth Development, is a trans-disciplinary center that aims to expand and apply the science of positive youth development to address fundamental challenges facing societies around the world.