CCE staff and partner reflections on our collaborative work to create schools where learning is engaging and rewarding, and every student is set up for success.
A New Vision for Public Education in Puget Sound
In an effort to adopt a new vision of public education that addresses our nation’s ever diversifying student body, educational agencies across the United States are launching regional initiatives to create deep, enduring models of personalized learning. One such agency is the Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) near Seattle, Washington. PSESD is one of nine regional educational agencies serving school districts and state approved charter and private schools in Washington. This service district is deeply committed to becoming an Anti-Racist Multicultural Organization in order to eliminate the Opportunity Gap (check out their racial equity tool!).
One of PSESD's tactics to close this gap is through personalized learning. After extensive collaborative and coordinated planning among Center for Collaborative Education (CCE), Education Elements (EE), and PSESD personnel, the Puget Sound Center for Personalized Learning (PSCPL) was recently launched under the leadership of director Rafael Gallardo. Director Gallardo is a passionate educator and an innovative thinker who understands that future graduates are expected to think critically, problem-solve collaboratively, and innovate creatively, not merely retain facts and formulas. Like CCE, PSCPL is also aware that curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices need to be personalized and engaging to properly prepare all learners for college, career, and civic life, ensuring equitable outcomes.
The Puget Sound Center for Personalized Learning (PSCPL) is committed to supporting the transformation of schools to ensure the elimination of racial inequities and the success of every student. They will partner with educators and leaders in the Washington state districts and schools and help them develop strategies, processes, and tools that support personalized learning (PL) schools. Through their support, the schools will be able to tailor learning to address each student’s strengths, needs, race, culture, and interests and give student’s voice and choice in how, when, and where they learn. Ultimately, these schools will be able to prepare every student to achieve academically and reach individual goals. PSCPL is designed to support students, teachers, and families in the development of flexible and equitable learning environments to ensure mastery of the highest learning standards to reach individual student’s goals.
PSCPL’s work will be guided by 5 core values, outlined in their PL framework. PSCPL will hold regional and district professional development as well as development of personalized learning school cohorts. An application process and four cohort in-person sessions were designed to help selected cohort schools design school-based implementation plans for personalized learning. PSCPL core values include:
- Vision and Strategy which addresses vision and core mission alignment, shared understanding and culture of racial equity, and clear strategies for measures and outcomes.
- Student-centered Learning Environments which focuses on personalized learning plans for students, students as self-directed learners, and access to high quality, culturally relevant curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
- Habits of Mind including growth mindset for students, educators and parents, focus on personal success, and Social Emotional Learning (SEL).
- Instructional Core which addresses instructional design aligned to students’ needs and strengths, instructional alignment to district/school outcomes and measures, and alignment and integration of instructional technology.
- Continuum of Instructional Support focused on flexible learning environments, competency based progression, and continuous support to address inequitable patterns.
With the support of federal “Race to the Top” funding the PSCPL has been established and its internal capacity to deliver personalized learning support developed. PSCPL is excited to select its first PSCPL cohort and hold a cohort design institute in 2018. Similar to CCE’s MA Personalized Learning Network, it has been inspiring to observe how the PSESD’s focus on personalized learning has gone a step beyond its primary objective of redesigning teaching and learning in regional school districts, it has also transformed practice within the service district with an agency-wide strategy of personalized learning to ensure PSESD’s commitment to equity and excellence is realized.