A school district is taking new steps toward personalized learning by making changes in elementary, middle, and high schools in the upcoming school year.
The Whitnall School District has a stated commitment to personalized learning, and is looking to add new classes and change class structures. The changes are a result of months of interviewing students, parents, and others about learning, then having teachers brainstorm new approaches based on the data.
“They looked at what can we implement in ’17-’18 for personalizing learning K-12, and what might be some things that we look at in ’18-’19,” said Superintendent Lisa Olson.
In high school, courses that are similar to seminars that combine different areas of study will be offered. Teachers have submitted 32 ideas for new classes, which will be considered in determining the new courses for next year.
“We’re going to put those out there and vet those through and have kids say, ‘What are you interested in? What’s going to do it for you? Where’s the enthusiasm?’” said Olson. “So, yes, for next year, not all 32, but we’re going through a process to figure out which ones will be ready or could be ready, and what things might require a bit more time.”
Personalized learning will possibly be reinforced at the middle school with a reformed schedule, focused on integrated electives, cross-curricular classes, and designated connection time with students staff, community, and other schools in the district. Teachers are also in favor of expanding the Personalized Learning Experience (PLEx) program in elementary schools.