Author: Chris Sturgis

What’s New: What’s Happening in State Policy

April 18, 2018 by

This article reviews some of the new state policy resources and highlights the types of discussion and initiatives taking place in the individual states. Nevada is joining the group of states that are supporting innovative districts, and Mississippi is supporting an innovation network. The most important thing to pay attention to is the discussion and debate in Maine as they decide whether they are going to continue to believe that their students and educators can learn to high standards and will keep learning how to support students in doing so…or if they modify expectations. Fingers crossed that the discussion moves from what’s wrong to what we need to make sure all of our students learn!

State Policy Resources

Across the country, state policymakers have been engaged in thinking through how they can strengthen their policies and infrastructures to better support personalized, competency-based education. Take some time to check out the resources at KnowledgeWorks‘ Every Student Succeeds Act: Mapping Emerging Trends for Personalized Learning in State ESSA Plans to get a sense of how policy directions are shifting.

Other resources that you might finding interesting and/or helpful are:

What’s Happening in the States

Colorado

Florida

Starting the Journey to CBE at Otken Elementary School

April 16, 2018 by

Dr. Cynthia Lamkin, Lead Learner at Otken Elementary

This is the seventh post on a series about McComb School District in McComb, Mississippi. Start here.

Otken Elementary, serving 500 students in grades 1-3, is in the first year of the the transition to personalized learning. They began the roll-up in 2017 with conversion to personalized learning in first grade followed by second year, next year, and so on.

Dr. Cynthia Lamkin, Principal or Lead Learner, described the early steps to implementation. Otken started by organizing a site visit for their first grade teachers to visit Kennedy Early Childhood Center to learn about student-centered learning and the blended learning rotation model. In amazement, they asked their Kennedy colleagues how they were able to get kindergarteners to all be working on task and to take responsibility even when the teacher was out of the line of vision. The teacher practitioners at Kennedy explained that it wasn’t magic. It started with a series of everyday practices such as creating a shared vision, goal-setting, and target trackers. Kennedy is finding that it takes about eleven days to introduce scholars to the routines of student-centered learning and station rotation. They all affirmed, “There is no excuse that first graders can’t learn to do this.”

Reflections of the Lead Learner

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What’s New: Assessment

April 13, 2018 by

There has been so much on assessment lately that I thought it best to dedicate a What’s New just to this one topic.

The most important (if you haven’t seen it yet) is 10 Principles for Building a High-Quality System Of Assessments (Jobs for the Future). This report offers important guidance on how states, districts, and our nation can bridge from the current status of assessments to high-quality systems that advance college and career readiness, equity, and student-centered learning.

The Assessment for Learning Project has a potpourri of different projects on assessment. They’ve produced a paper A Movement Towards Personalized Professional Learning on microcredentialing. Two other projects are highlighted in the resources below: (more…)

Starting with the Kindergarteners in McComb

April 9, 2018 by

Felicia Thomas, Lead Learner at Kennedy Early Childhood Center

This is the sixth post on a series about McComb School District in McComb, Mississippi. Start here.

The next stop in my visit to McComb School District was the Kennedy Early Childhood Center.  We met with Lead Learner (Principal) Felicia Thomas; Dr. Alicia Walker, Site Based Curriculum Coordinator; and Angel McMillian, Literacy Specialist. Kennedy is designed to have all the kindergarteners in McComb introduced to personalized learning. They currently have over 200 kindergarteners as well as fifty younger scholars in preschool. The school day is organized into blocks around the academic domains of social studies, science, literacy, and math. (more…)

Designing for Equity: Leveraging Competency-Based Education to Ensure All Students Succeed

April 5, 2018 by

Photo by Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

Today, iNACOL and CompetencyWorks released Designing for Equity: Leveraging Competency-Based Education to Ensure All Students Succeed. With the help of Katherine Casey, we revised the earlier paper on equity developed for the 2017 National Summit on K-12 Competency-Based Education. Our thinking developed substantially based on the conversations at the Summit, and this paper will hopefully be of use to educators making the transition to competency education. Here are a couple of things I want to highlight: (more…)

What’s New: Resources

April 3, 2018 by

A number of valuable resources have been released recently. You might not have time to read them all, but it may be a good idea to quickly look at them so that you are familiar with them – as they may be helpful to you at some time in the future:

Every Student Succeeds Act: Mapping Emerging Trends for Personalized Learning in State ESSA Plans from KnowledgeWorks includes a dashboard infographic; an analysis of key trends and values that states leveraged to advance personalized learning across five topic areas in state plans (Vision, Accountability Systems, School Support and Improvement, Supporting Excellent Educators, and Supporting all Students); and a state-by-state data set. (more…)

Empowering Scholars at McComb’s Summit Elementary

April 2, 2018 by

Lakya Washington, Lead Learner at Summit Elementary School

This is the fifth post on a series about McComb School District in McComb, Mississippi. Start here.

Lakya Washington, previously assistant principal at Higgins Middle School, is the Lead Learner at Summit Elementary School. In the language of yesteryear, she is the principal. Full of passion, compassion, and a deep commitment to building better lives for her scholars, Washington has led the introduction to personalized learning at Summit. She had never experienced personalized learning before, so her own learning trajectory has been steep. One of the steps that helped was visiting Red Bank Elementary in South Carolina. (more…)

March 2018 CompetencyWorks Catch-Up

April 1, 2018 by

Here are the highlights from March 2018 on CompetencyWorks. Happy reading. And let us know if you have questions you want us to delve into!

 

CASE STUDIES AND SITE VISITS

McComb, Mississippi

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What Will Students Experience in a Competency-Based School?

March 27, 2018 by

As you might know, CompetencyWorks has been using virtual collaborative processes, fondly known as a Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs), to build knowledge that draws from local, state, and national leaders. In a TAG that was aimed at creating a way of defining and explaining competency-based education, an unexpected set of ideas was developed: What should students expect to experience in a competency-based school? We hadn’t planned to build this out, but now we have it.

Districts and schools, after adapting for their own approach based on their student outcomes and the mediating factors of who their student population is as well as the local context, should be able to turn this into a rubric or survey to provide feedback on how deep and broad their implementation is. However, I’d like to ask you: How might you change or add to this list of the expected student experience in a personalized, competency-based school?

What will students experience in a competency-based school?

Below are examples of experiences that every student should have in a well-developed personalized, competency-based system.

1. I will be fully supported in developing academic knowledge and skills, the ability to apply what I have learned to solve real-world problems, and the capacities I need to become an independent and lifelong learner. (more…)

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