Monday, August 22, 2016

Disrupting Learning at #ISD2835

For years people have been talking about reforming education and changing the way we do business. There have been legislative talks at both the federal and state levels, however, there is typically little reform supported. Instead, those legislative conversations turn to accountability and sanctions. This year, instead of waiting for legislative reform, the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton School District will embark on local conversations of disrupting learning to positively impact our students for a lifetime.

Over the past school year the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton School District engaged in several discussions around personalized learning. Questions posed were:

What does this look like for our school district?
Who will be involved in this work?
How will it impact our students?
What financial resources may be needed for such an endeavor?
What action steps are needed?

Truth be told, we did not have the answers to any of those questions. In a personalized learning environment those questions are answered in development. This can be scary for many. I, like many others, prefer to see what is ahead and have a clear understanding of what is needed to be done. Personalized learning is developed with each individual student in mind in the development of learning plans.

This is in stark contrast to traditional methods that include teaching to the middle. In that setting, students that struggle with content can be left behind. In a similar vein, those that are accelerated learners are not often challenged enough. I am happy to state that our staff have worked relentlessly to ensure those things did not happen. However, "the system" did not provide our staff with a solid foundation in which to work from.

The conversations over the next year in our school district will develop a framework in which all students are provided with what they need and when they need it along their learning journey. This is sure to be a challenging process, yet, excellence is not something that happens over night or attained easily. We have to make this happen. We will make this happen. For our kids!

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