Personalized learning is a school and district-wide strategy to align systems to achieve success. The starting point for all classrooms is to understand the unique experiences and interests of every student. Based on that understanding, we reimagine school to be what best supports each child to thrive.
Equip schools and districts to successfully plan and implement personalized learning
CTAC assists schools and districts to advance personalized learning in their context, at their pace. The emphasis is on instruction—how it can be more flexible, more responsive, and result in improved learning.
On their own, many teachers face an uphill battle in constantly adapting to the needs of individual students. CTAC assists schools and districts to align systems, provide flexibilities, and change practices so that teachers are better able to:
- Organize instruction around student progress on standards
- Build strong relationships with students
- Increase student ownership of their learning
Our design process builds the capacity and the constituency for each stage of personalized learning. The four stages include:
Stage 1: Explore
Explore school and district readiness for personalized learning.
- Conduct an organizational assessment to understand current student outcomes, instructional practices, and organizational conditions.
- Review teacher data use to identify teachers’ knowledge of their students, how teachers arrive at that knowledge, and how teachers and schools manage that information.
- Examine how select policies and practices shape the environment for personalized learning.
Stage 2: Connect
Connect the vision of personalized learning to student and school success.
- Facilitate a design team—including students, parents, educators, central office staff, site administrators, union leaders, and community members—to plan for a personalized learning environment.
- Build a constituency around a vision for students’ academic and non-academic success.
- Identify and sequence the needed building blocks for implementing personalized learning.
Stage 3: Innovate
Innovate to improve instructional practices and promote student success.
- Develop teachers’ skills to design instruction intentionally based on standards and student academic, social and emotional needs.
- Strengthen the personalized instructional model using the Quality Teaching Practices.
- Align district systems and structures to support personalization.
Stage 4: Refine
Refine practices and policies based on the analysis of implementation.
- Establish guideposts to determine for which students personalized learning is having the greatest impact.
- Make informed mid-course adjustments in response to implementation challenges.
- Celebrate individual and collective success.
Competency-based education and personalized learning go hand in hand
Competency-based education (CBE) provides for flexibility in the pace, path, and demonstration of student learning. Competency-based education offers new ways to think about progress and measure student learning. Often, it is a next step for schools designing around personalized learning.
CTAC builds the capacity of schools and districts to plan for and provide competency-based education. We help our partners to implement at both the systems and classroom level, ensuring practices and policies align with instruction.
At the systems level, CTAC assists schools and districts to:
- Develop a plan to roll-out CBE strategically and with appropriate safeguards and supports
- Review and refine school and district level practices and policies to support teachers and students as they implement CBE
- Map competencies to courses, learning outcomes, and assessments
- Train teachers to implement CBE in their classrooms
- Incorporate competency-based methods of assessing learning within data systems
At the instructional level, CTAC assists schools and districts to:
- Implement competency-based learning as a component of the district’s instructional and assessment strategy
- Tailor the pace of a student’s instruction based on their mastery of competencies
- Tie mastery of state standards to their real-world applications
- Use competencies as the basis for personalizing and intensifying instruction
- Increase the use and quality of formative assessment
- Redesigning Schools State-wide: As a partner in the Region 12 Comprehensive Center (R12CC), CTAC supports the Kansas State Department of Education in implementing and scaling the Kansans Can Redesign Initiative. Schools across the state are redesigning around personalized learning and competency-based education to continuously improve.
- Defining Personalized Learning: On behalf of the Rhode Island Department of Education, CTAC engaged public stakeholders in defining and developing understandings of personalized learning. We assisted in identifying patterns in public and educator understanding of personalization, sharing examples of this practice, and using the public contributions to scale personalized learning throughout the state.
- Bridging Knowledge of Content and Standards: In Maine and Texas, CTAC conducted regional trainings to facilitate a transition to more personalized learning. This transition helped educators set standards-based goals for students, measure academic growth systematically, and learn from CTAC’s research on what matters most for accelerating and personalizing student learning.
- Building Strong Relationships: CTAC supported districts in Massachusetts and Nebraska to develop systems and practices which strengthened peer and student-teacher relationships. These relationships were consistently maintained across grade levels and school years. We also built a platform of content which teachers use to set goals, build trust, and strengthen school/home communication.