Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Looking to the Stars

Over the past two years we have been working diligently to develop our framework for personalized learning at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton (JWP). Therefore, I thought I would take some time to cover where we've been, where we are today, and where we are headed. Happy reading!

Where we've been...
One of the strategic directions of the school board is, "By the start of the 2017 school year, the district will have developed an implementation protocol for personalized learning." In the spring of 2017 the school board aligned their resources to this strategic direction by posting for and hiring a personalized learning coach to oversee the process. We are thankful that Claudia Roesler, former 3rd grade teacher at JWP accepted the challenge!

When Ms. Roesler started we began weekly meetings to build our personalized learning framework. We started with developing a definition first. The working definition we honed in on is the following: "At JWP personalized learning is an individual learner-centered, teacher-guided partnership to reach intended learning goals."

Ms. Roesler spent the summer studying up on personalized learning by reading books, articles, peer reviewed works and a variety of other resources. From there, personalized learning coaching sessions were developed and scheduled with staff members which provided one to one support for our staff members.

We also believed it would be important to clearly identify skills our leaners needed to secure by the end of a course or grade level. Albeit we had done this work in the past, our focus turned to turning those identified skills in to "I can" statements. For example: I can multiply multi-digit numbers. From there, the conversation turned to how students would display their mastery of multiplying multi-digit numbers. This was an intensive process and continues today.

Where we are today...
Our personalized learning team today in the process of integrating the "honeycomb" of personalized learning. To learn more about the "honeycomb", please click here. As you can see in the image below, it would be impossible to implement all pieces of this at once. Therefore, as a district we have decided to focus on the following pieces:

1. The development of learner profiles (core component).
2. Timely and actionable feedback (learning and teaching).
3. Conferring and conferencing (learning and teaching).
4. Development of a shared commitment to success (relationships and roles).

Our task is to master those items at each and every level. Once we feel we've got a grasp on these pieces, we'll begin addressing new areas of the "honeycomb". This process will be challenging and we are sure to experience opportunities in which to learn from. 

Photo Credit: http://institute4pl.org/index.php/our-model/
We call these first components our initial constellation of where we are heading. If we ever get lost in our journey to personalizing our learning environment, we will look to our constellation for direction. Below is an image our personalized learning team developed as a point of reference for future discussions.

Where we are headed...
We currently have five staff members that have signed up for the intensive pilot program to fully immerse themselves in personalized learning work. Essentially, the plan is for these folks to receive extensive coaching and to begin implementation and evaluation of personalized learning in their classrooms. We look forward to learning from these individuals as we scale this philosophy of education district wide.

Ms. Roesler also created a poster recently that depicts where we've been, where we are, and where we are headed. It is our hope that our school community will continue to understand that this process is a journey. We will most definitely keep moving forward, adjust, improve, and learn. Thank you for your support!

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