Innovative schools could launch personalized learning if a waiver to veer from some aspects of district curriculum is approved by the Colorado Department of Education.

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The Thompson School District is requesting permission for Winona and Monroe elementary schools to be approved as “innovative schools” and implement curriculum variations and schedules that would foster technology and innovation promoting personalized learning.

“We want our kids to be successful every single day,” said Margaret Crespo, chief academic officer.

“This is an opportunity for us to do something to impact schools that we hope will have incredible results.”

The request is for a waiver to allow the schools working with an innovation team to have more autonomy in meeting needs of the students.  Possible variations include lengthening the school day by 30 minutes, expanding the school year to prevent “summer slide,” changing the daily schedule allowing grouping of students with similar needs even if they are not on the same grade level, and extending teacher contracts by up to five days to accommodate additional professional development. There would also be flexibility in assessment schedules.  State assessments would be administered, but there could be changes to the tools.

“That doesn’t mean that they’re not going to take assessments, that they’re not going to teach to the standards, but they want a little more control,” said director of elementary education Ann Marie Sanchez.

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