Personalized Learning in KPBSD

Where do you want your learning to take you and how can KPBSD help you get there? #PLinKPBSD

Category: Teachers

Year Two with Personalized Learning

We have formally been on the Personalized Learning (PL) journey for a complete school year and are now entering year two. And with the new school year, it is important to take a moment to consider where we have come from. Exceptional teachers are the standard in KPBSD, but over the course of the last year, teachers were offered opportunity to participate in building a culture of sustainable and continuous innovation on an unprecedented district-wide scale.  With the development of the new 5-year strategic plan, there have been bold expectations put in place that drive the work that we do. The implementation of that plan has consisted of focused and vigorous engagement at all levels across the school district machine. As evidenced by the results of the Spring Survey conducted by Education Elements, our schools are exceeding benchmark standards in the PL implementation process.

So what does year two of Personalized Learning look like for KPBSD? Our schools are divided into three groups, or waves. This is done to not only make the training procedure manageable, but also to allow for a spiraling effect as the later waves benefit from the experiences of the practitioners who started earlier. As a result, each wave is in a different stage of exposure to personalized learning.

Wave 1 Icon

Wave 1 has completed their initial workshop series with Education Elements. They will spend this year really honing in on building school cultures of innovation and sharing. The central focus of that work is utilizing a model of continual improvement through building school practices that call for this enriching kind of engagement. This includes very intentional use of professional development and staff meeting time, as well as, spending time in each other’s classrooms in order to grow our capacity to engage in continuous professional learning.

Wave 2 Icon

Wave 2 is midway through their work with Education Elements. This Fall brings more workshops and implementation of PL strategies formally to the classrooms. Much of their workshop time will be reflecting on the PL practices and planning for continual iteration (or updating) as they continue to build their PL practices. The Spring will bring the shift toward the building of innovative school culture work that Wave 1 is working on.

Wave 3 Icon

Wave 3 is an assembly of our district’s high schools, larger middle schools, fly-in schools, and alternative schools. They formally began their work with Education Elements in May as their leadership teams attended their first workshop. This wave will spend the year moving through the series of workshops with Ed Elements and implementing their first PL strategies formally in the Spring.

KPBSD educators are honing our craft with depth like never before and with eyes toward continual growth and innovation. There is excitement in the air as the district moves ever closer toward having the capacity to meet every student where they are, offer them the flexibility they need, and include them in the designing of their learning experience!

Where are we in Our PL Journey?

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has been working with Education Elements for a year now. And in that time, there have been great strides made toward expanding the teaching and learning practices that we have in the district. An unintended consequence of taking a very reflective look at how we do business was that the innovative practices of teachers around the district have come clearly to light. You see, education is often a very individually based profession. Educators are so busy doing their portion that they rarely get to hear about what others are doing or share what they are doing in their own practices. Exciting to see the unique things that students, teachers, and principals are doing across the district!

Our work with Education Elements is set for a 3 year duration culminating in a sustainability phase that continues indefinitely into the future of our work. We are one year into that 3 year stretch. There are 3 waves (or groups) of schools moving through this process as mentioned in the previous post “The Long Runway”. Each wave moves through a series of 5 trainings and 3 site visits in their work with Ed Elements.

Here is where we are in this journey…

Wave 1 is wrapping up their work with Ed Elements here at the end of the school year. They are moving into the sustainability phase of the personalized learning work. We are spending our efforts developing long term processes for continual reflection and iteration (changes or updates) to the work that we do.

Wave 2 is halfway through their training series. They are spending the bulk of their time right now designing personalized learning structures and strategies for their classrooms and schools. They are deep in the work of trying out more personalized approaches with their students and empowering students to be reflective learners that more fully own their education. Even though the work is still in progress, teachers like Carlyn Nichols and Laura Niemcyzk are diving head first into innovative practices.

Wave 3 will soon be having their first site visits and delving into the first of the training series that Ed Elements offers. This wave consists more completely of the large high schools and so will have perhaps the largest shifts in practices. It is exciting to highlight teachers like Kristin Davis at Kenai Central High School, Eric Pomerleau at Soldotna High, Kim Leslie of the Distance Education program, and Sean Campbell at Homer High School among so many others for paving the way to more personalized education at the secondary level.

As we look forward into the remaining time of our partnership with Education Elements, the waves will continue through the training series and in another year or so, the entire district will be into the sustainability phase of this work. It will be amazing to see what the collaborative structures for reflecting and sharing our practices are as we move forward.

Other aspects of our PL journey include the updating of the curriculum and resources that are available for teachers to use. The process has begun to move each content area through a re-design/update of the curriculum and collecting the resources and materials that teachers will need to implement it. The final component of this is the technology support integration aspect. As the PL practices become solidified and the resources/materials needed are identified, it will be the natural next step to build the technology component of the PL scene in KPBSD.

For a brief and visual overview of this post, please check out the Riding the Wave infographic. So much progress made… much more coming! Exciting times in KPBSD!

PL Abounds in KPBSD

At the end of January, the Wave 1 schools had their first Learning Walks where the Education Elements team and the School PL teams visited classrooms to celebrate the personalized learning being

Student tracking chart for standards

Data Driven

implemented.  This was the first on-the-ground check in since the Wave 1 schools started the transition to PL.

Students working in a small group with their teacher.

Targeted Instruction

The Learning Walk process consists of the teams visiting classrooms and taking notes on a shared tool to highlight PL practices.  The Ed Elements team visited over 50 classrooms across the nine Wave 1 schools with the focal point of those visits being centered on the Core Four:  Targeted Instruction, Data Driven Decisions, Flexible Content & Tools, and Student Reflection & Ownership. Each of the Wave 1 schools have selected one of the Core Four as a primary focus, so the evidence they gathered was specific to each school’s goals.

The evidence and notes from the team were collated into a school level report for the school’s review and use.  Each school report gives highlights of observed PL in classroom and school-wide trends, along with questions and ideas for schools to consider in the next steps of their PL journeys.  All of those school reports were then compiled into a District Summary which highlighted districtwide trends. Some of those trends include:

Evidence of PL Models – Learning Walks reveal that teachers have committed to implementing PL instructional models and a wide range of tactics across the Core Four.

A playlist of options for students choice to be built into a lesson.

Student Choice

Student Engagement – Not only did the team observe high levels of student engagement across the classrooms, but many students were able to articulate what they were working on and why.

Student using multiple content options.

Flexible Content

Student Choice – With a large focus on student reflection and ownership, we saw several classrooms providing students choice – particularly in order of completion or pace through a set list of activities. Students are demonstrating a strong level of independence!

Use Flexible Content and Tools – Teachers are seeking out content that addresses the objectives and needs of their students. Not only are they making use of the digital content that is available, but they are also providing a variety of activities that are not digital – these include hands-on and various practice materials.  Click here for more ideas in this area that do not require technology or devices.

 

PL on the Ground and Running

Often, phrases like “What does Personalized Learning look like in the classroom?” are heard bantered back and forth as we move farther down this runway.  Well, there are a 1,000 answers to this as each teacher, each group of kids, and each scenario is unique. In this post, we will take a brief look into just one possible scenario for a glimpse of what is possible by sharing the practices of Amy Angleton, an English/Language Arts teacher at Skyview Middle School.

Amy has taken the weekly schedule for her classes and created a consistent rotation schedule for the students. Each day of the week offers something unique for the students. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, they move through stations in the classroom that include independent work that includes technology integration for delivering some content, collaboration with other students, and application of the writing process with one-to-one conferencing with the teacher.

Let’s dive further into the  conferencing, because this is the heart of the beauty in this. Amy has the opportunity to meet with each student individually to guide, support, teach, and reflect with the student about themtheir needs… their successes.  This type of student reflection and goal setting is directly connected to the Core Four of Personalized Learning discussed in previous posts. She meets with them anywhere from 1-3 times individually along with all the general class time interaction.

Amy Angleton Profile Pic

Amy Angleton, ELA @Skyview Middle

 

The benefits for Amy and her students are crystal clear.  She knows her students on a personal level that has never been achieved before this point in her career. This is all about them and their individual needs! This makes grading into teaching and offers so much more opportunity for investment from the students. It is important to note that the logistics of shifts like this take dedication to really figure out a system, but no one says it better than Amy herself, “I can honestly say that I have never felt more effective as a teacher than I do with one-on-one conferencing.” 

So there you have it… an on the ground example of one way PL might look in action. For more on Amy’s story with one-to-one conferencing, check out this teacher feature!

The Long Runway

In following up from the previous post, What to Expect When You are Wave 2, it is time to take a look at the grand scheme. In the infographic here, you will find the timeline for the 3 waves of schools going through the PL implementation process with Ed Elements. This is the bigger picture of the time frame along with a more in-depth understanding of when things occur in the process. The previous post shared the overview of what a wave of schools can expect to occur, so now… here is the when!

This is a timeline of the PL implementation process in KPBSD

.pdf version linked here

What to Expect When You are a Wave 2 School

In continuing to expand our instructional capacity with Personalized Learning, our Wave 1 schools have forged a path that now Wave 2 schools are about to embark upon. There is much to be said for the contributions of Wave 1 guiding the iteration of our district’s process. As we build momentum and formally engage Wave 2, here is an infographic that lays out the process of what a Wave 2 school can expect over the course of this school year and the Fall of next year.

What to expect when you are Wave 2

.pdf version linked here

PL and Blended Learning

Forging ahead as a district in our Personalized Learning journey and beginning book talks expanding our knowledge, Blended Learning is one piece of the Personalized Learning pieit might be useful to consider why three of the four books being offered are on “Blended Learning”. The question to address is this: if Personalized Learning is the pie in the sky, the whole enchilada, the big kahuna, then why Blended Learning? Quite simply, the foundations of blended learning is in shifting mindsets, using groupings and rotation models, planning instruction based on quality data. As it turns out, these are also the foundational tenets of Personalized Learning!

Blended Learning, as it explains nicely in this article by the Christiansen Institute, is a “modality of instruction” that incorporates technology as a key piece of the structure. This incorporation provides more resources and often eases the teacher’s burden for things like collecting data and assessment. This format of instruction started KPBSD’s foundational shift toward PL in many ways.

Personalized Learning is a much broader term that is really a philosophy of pedagogy – a way of doing things. Unlike Blended Learning, Personalized Learning doesn’t require technology to be meaningfully incorporated into a school or district’s way of doing business, although certainly a factor to be taken into account. So, the reason that there are three Book Talks offered on blended learning is to provide the foundational shift support – the mindset, if you will. We are talking about station rotations, flexible content, data and assessment options, student accountability and engagement, and an all around mindset shift toward building school culture around these topics. We need all these things as we continue on our PL journey.

 

Book Talks Launch Today!

Professional Development 2017-2018 Series

An exciting opportunity for Teachers and Administrators for Professional Development in KPBSD is here! Book Talk Course registration is now open! Current book talks being offered are all directly related to personalized learning! They are 9-week, 1-credit courses offered through UAA that count toward both salary advancement and re-certification if they pertain directly to your teaching assignment. There is a different emphasis to each book, and something different to be gained from each one. There are currently 2 methods of participation available, so staff can select what works for their situation. The details needed to access and enroll in the courses can be found at the link below. Please contact Amanda Adams at aadams@kpbsd.org or 224-9074 with any questions regarding the courses.

KPBSD Book Talk Series

 

Following up on Districtwide Inservice!

Following Up on Districtwide Inservice

Need the PDF Version? Click here! 

Link referenced: 2016-2017 Education Elements Impact Report

Dear KPBSD teachers…

Teachers will have powerful tools and strategies to help differentiate instruction and personalize learning for each student

FAQ

  • Digital content frees up time for small group instruction and provides better data to make instructional decisions. “Teaching to the middle” becomes less likely as you can reach every student effectively and efficiently. Realtime data and instant feedback on student progress allows you to intervene quickly to ensure a student is mastering a concept. You can also provide pathways for accelerated learning for students who are ready to move on sooner than others.

 

  • In a personalized environment, teachers are designers of their own classrooms, and therefore have the opportunity to innovate, learn new skills, and develop themselves as professionals.

 

  • We are committed to being a personalized learning district. That means we are not only personalizing learning for our students, but also for our staff. We want to make sure your needs as teachers are being met, and therefore will be moving towards providing more personalized professional learning opportunities.

 

  • Personalized learning is not a new concept—we know you as teachers try to meet the needs of your students every day. What is new is our district’s renewed commitment to personalizing learning at all levels, as well as a focus on making sure you are supported with the most effective resources, strategies, and tools.

The Positive Power of Personalized Learning

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