Schools are finding personalized learning for underperforming students is an effective way to improve grades and discover their interests and strengths.
As part of its efforts to help schools better reach underperforming students, the Montgomery County school system will form a group of six schools interested in developing instruction plans focused on the interests and strengths of individual students, according to Kimberly A. Statham, deputy superintendent of teaching, learning and programs.
Statham and others described the district’s “early work” regarding the personalized plans during a larger conversation on its Interventions Network for schools at the county school board’s Tuesday meeting.
Samantha B. Cohen, a doctoral resident in Statham’s office, told board members that the personalized teaching method aims to meet the needs of students at all performance levels in a class.
Cohen said the lesson plans should give students “the capacity to choose how they will demonstrate their learning.”
Another factor involves “real-time feedback,” she said, so teachers are consistently able to gauge how a student is performing and therefore adapt their instruction.
The school system plans to launch its first of multiple groups in the 2015-16 school year, Cohen said.
Schools have until the end of March to submit an application to be one of the first six schools, she said.
Cohen provided a few examples of personalized instruction in the school system.
Eric Vogel, a fifth-grade math teacher at Damascus Elementary School, uses videos of his lessons to provide direct instruction to his students, she said. The videos have freed him up to work closely with small groups during his class time and allow students to watch the lesson at their own speed.
“They literally would use the fast forward or rewind button as they were stuck or wanted to move forward,” Cohen said.
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