We want to encourage success among staff and students. One of the ways that we aim to do this is through personalization. Defining that word can be tricky though. Certain words exist within the lexicon of education (and beyond) that struggle to find succinct definition, among them are transformation, proficiency and grading. Personalization is tricky for us for a number of reasons, including the assessment, class size, and particularly - age of population. We offer opportunities to learn skills - like oral reading fluency and we allow structures (instruction and instructional groupings) and time (increased time for some, decreased for others), but the personalization of that skill acquisition is something aside from larger choices, like British literature versus Chemistry at the high school or college level and choosing a topic of inquiry for research for eighth grade Capstone.
Students in grades 7-12 use personal learning plans, but the reality at the K-6 level is that many have them already and have had for a while. Teachers here do not expect students to acquire all the content concurrently with their peers. Talk to some Kindergarten teachers and they will tell you that students come in with differing abilities. Moreover, that’s great. We do not want want to instruct in the factory model of 19th century America. We are not building a workforce that is lock step. We want to build a citizenry of divergent thinkers, problem solvers and creators. We want students to challenge us to think of new ways of design.
There are two pieces here by second graders. They have designs of spring. Spring is not the same for both students. For one, it’s playing soccer with dad. For the other, it’s watching birds. They're both valid, accurate, and personal. The learning is tied to student experience and represents student interest.
- Matthew DeBlois, Principal