Create a Personalized Learning Plan Connected to Each of Your Students
At the recent 2018 Michigan Charter Schools Symposium, Distinctive Schools network leaders had the opportunity to attend and present at the annual conference, as well as connect with fellow charter educators.
During the session, “Create a Personalized Learning Plan Connected to Each of Your Students,” Jin-Soo Huh, Executive Director of Academic Innovation at Distinctive Schools, and Stephanie Cardella, Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment at Distinctive Schools, shared their knowledge of personalized learning models and replicating it into an existing school culture. Personalized learning instruction offers pedagogy, curriculum, and learning environments to meet the individual student's needs. This tailored experience to learning preferences and specific interests of different students allows for a customized approach to teaching. For schools to truly adopt a personalized method of learning there has to be a design-thinking approach incorporated throughout the culture.
Huh and Cardella also shared lessons learned from implementing personalized learning at Distinctive Schools campuses. For example, Chicago International Charter School (CICS) West Belden, managed by Distinctive Schools, served as the pilot school to make learning more personalized for students.
To begin their transformation, the CICS West Belden team used a design thinking approach to hear directly from students about their wants and needs and tried out different models to better equip students to learn in their preferred ways. This resulted in a school where students had more agency and deeper relationships with teachers. Academic learning also increased as students received more tailored instruction, including additional small group instruction with teachers, supplemented by just the right level practice from online programs. Ultimately, CICS West Belden had created a model where students were thriving.
CICS West Belden’s journey highlights several lessons for schools that are considering adopting personalized learning. These include: