The annual ASU+GSV Summit began in 2010, as a collaboration between Arizona State University and Global Silicon Valley. The annual ASU+GSV Summit aims to elevate the action and dialogue around innovation for technology and education. Over the past several years, Distinctive Schools has had a number of presenters and panels share the Distinctive Perspective to innovation at ASU+GSV.
Karin Breo, Executive Director of Partnerships and Development at Distinctive Schools, was featured in a panel from 2017, the Lessons Learned in Change Management. Scott Frauenheim, Distinctive Schools President and Chief Operating Officer, was featured in the 2016 panel, the K-12: Innovators Assemble – Connecting Schools and Tools to Transform Education. Both Breo and Frauenheim reference their work with LEAP Innovations, and the partnership that has helped Distinctive Schools to transform the learning experience for our students, and advance the innovative practice of our educators.
At the 2018 ASU+GSV Summit, Distinctive Schools leaders presented their perspective on innovation. During the Educator Innovator Pitch, CICS West Belden Teachers, Kelly Pollack and Christina Hanna shared about their classroom community, and how they work together to make learning personal for their fifty-nine third and fourth grade students. View their presentation, Our Big Happy Family: Co-Teaching in a Multi-Age Classroom here:
Matt Pitucco, Dean at CICS Irving Park and Stephanie Indianer, Social Worker at CICS Bucktown, shared their cross-campus collaborative efforts to change the mindset around discipline, and the implementation of Restorative Justice. Their Educator Innovator Pitch, A Personalized Approach to Restorative Justice and Social-Emotional Learning is linked here.
While we were in San Diego, we had the opportunity to visit innovative schools with fellow educators. One campus to note was the Design 39 Campus. It was clearly designed with creativity and the student experience at its core, "As a collaborative community, we nurture creative confidence, practice design thinking, learn through inquiry, connect globally, use technology and real world tools, and promote the courage and growth mindset necessary to change the world." Design 39 is a great place to visit when implementing Personalized Learning in schools.
We facilitated a workshop with Andy Calkins of Next Generation Learning Challenge, Tom Vander Ark of Getting Smart, and fellow NGLC recipients. Executive Director of Personalized Learning, Jin-Soo Huh, shared with attendees the Distinctive Schools approach to innovative work and how our team used the MyWays Framework when writing our strategic plan. Distinctive School leaders who attended the workshop reflected on where they are in next generation planning and where they need to go from high level strategy, to nuts and bolts like infrastructure.
If you are interested in learning more about strategies around implementing Personalized Learning, reach out to schedule a visit to one of our campuses in Chicago, Detroit, or Minneapolis!
Distinctive Schools National Board of Directors:
Chicago, IL (April 4, 2018) Distinctive Schools announced the establishment of its National Board of Directors that will help guide Distinctive Schools as an educational practice leader committed to social justice and the elevation of access and achievement for all students.
Distinctive Schools began its journey in May of 2011, with the mission to ensure successful futures for all of its students. Today, in partnership with Chicago International Charter School (CICS), Distinctive Schools currently manages four K-8 elementary schools in Chicago: CICS Bucktown, CICS Irving Park, CICS Prairie, and CICS West Belden. In the northern region of Minneapolis, in partnership with Innovative Quality Schools, Distinctive Schools manages Minnesota Excellence in Learning Academy (MELA), and at the start of the 2017-2018 school year, Distinctive Schools proudly partnered with Central Michigan University in the opening of its newest school, Distinctive College Prep – Harper Woods, a K-3 charter school, adding grade levels each year through grade eight.
“We are ready for an expanded set of minds to help us serve our students, families, communities, and staff. Our Distinctive Schools educational model is fueled by innovation and informed by cutting-edge research and best practice, and, we believe with the establishment of our National Board of Directors, we will be able to continuously innovate as a network,” stated Dr. Joseph Wise, Chairman of the Board and CEO at Distinctive Schools. “The board that we have assembled embodies the spirit of positively impacting K-12 education, and brings education expertise, talent and energy to the table. We expect them to help us continue to innovate, trailblaze, and collaboratively lead a public education transformation, as well as help build a new narrative for what our nation’s education should look like today.”
The Distinctive Schools National Board of Directors consists of leaders, representing a diverse group of institutions including acclaimed education organizations, universities and K-12 academies. The Distinctive National Board of Directors are
As national thought leaders in the area of personalized learning, Distinctive Schools fosters learning environments that honor each individual and nurture the whole learner, and through a highly personalized model of instruction and supports, students develop a strong sense of agency and confidence and consistently exceed national norms on both growth and attainment targets.
“We believe our National Board of Directors represent the apogee of education today. We are very fortunate to learn and work with them, and to utilize their unique skill sets and expertise to continue to strengthen Distinctive Schools,” stated Scott Frauenheim, President and COO at Distinctive Schools. “The new board will strengthen support in all areas of the organization while continuing to positively impact student achievement. It is an exciting step for Distinctive Schools.”
Distinctive Schools Celebrates CICS West Belden with Release of Personalized Learning Case Study!
At Distinctive Schools, we are celebrating Chicago International Charter School (CICS) West Belden!
CICS West Belden is located in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood of Chicago, and in 2011, became operated by Distinctive Schools, a school management organization (SMO) with three other schools in the Chicago area. At this time, classrooms at CICS West Belden were more traditional, with desks in rows. However the classroom set-up didn’t forge an environment of camaraderie and love of learning. As stated by Colleen Collins, now School Director at CICS West Belden, “Students were well-behaved and on task, but their engagement was low.”
Therefore, in 2013, CICS West Belden began its journey into personalized learning and the first step was to build a foundation and create a culture of respect, innovation and self direction. This step would help lay the groundwork for personalized learning, so the school’s leadership team attended the Summer Design Program led by LEAP Innovations. This design workshop offered the CICS West Belden team the “space, time, and expertise to design innovative solutions to some of their most pressing challenges,” and, at the program, numerous ideas came together.
CICS West Belden then spent nearly a full year planning the details of the pilot classrooms to first implement personalized learning before going school-wide. When the pilot team was chosen for the 2014-15 school year, the team began working quickly to prepare for implementation. Since then, CICS West Belden has piloted innovative ideas, refined and implemented methods, and transformed the student experience.
“Switching to a personalized learning model can be overwhelming for teachers and staff,” stated Scott Frauenheim, President and Chief Operating Officer at Distinctive Schools, “Though, we learned by implementing personalized learning through pilot teachers and classrooms first, before implementing it school-wide, we were able to take changes one step at a time.”
Fast forward to April, 2018 - CICS West Belden serves 530 students in grades kindergarten to eighth grade, and CICS West Belden Bulldog pride is exemplified across the building. When you walk into classrooms, they look more like start-up companies than a traditional classroom -- with small group spaces, futons, and technology such as iPads or Chromebooks for all students.
“Today, our school is a place where learning is cultivated and where students are active partners in their education,” stated Ms. Collins. “Likewise, our teachers collaborate together, as well as with families and students, to design learning experiences that provide all our students with curriculum and instruction that showcases their passions, successes, and ambitions.”
We are thrilled to share a case study which tells the story of CICS West Belden’s journey. The case study was written in collaboration with FSG. FSG is a mission-driven consulting firm, with extensive work in issues related to personalized learning and nonprofits.
This case study is helping inform education leaders, as well as our school communities, on one school’s journey to personalized learning, and it includes lessons learned, the steps in CICS West Belden’s personalized learning journey, challenges along the way, the value of partnerships, and the focus on the future. For your copy of the CICS West Belden Case Study, visit: http://bit.ly/Distinctive_Journeys_to_PL
Trailblazer teachers and staff hold a vital role in developing school reform, and we are grateful for their innovation, commitment, and dedication to our network! This month we are featuring a Trailblazing Teacher from Distinctive College Prep (DCP) - Harper Woods.
This month's Trailblazer uses personalized learning to create an engaging and rich classroom environment. Her students take ownership of the progress they are making, guided by a combination of their own goals and standards-based targets. Student ownership and independence allows this trailblazer to individualize instruction, provide intervention, and give feedback to her students. She is willing to do whatever it takes to motivate her students, even working their personalities into daily classroom routines. She encourages her students to think, question, and connect, and she is bringing out the best in her students every day!
We feel so fortunate to have her at DCP - Harper Woods, please join us in congratulating a Trailblazing Teacher, Ms. Ciara Cox!
Ms. Ciara Cox: Featured Trailblazer!