learning what matters

WElcome and OVERVIEW

With what do we replace the traditional factory model structure of school?

The factory model of schooling in our country is proficient at one thing-- sorting students. Time-based, age-based, and course-based structures are just not compatible with the how students learn and inhibit educators attempts at creating new methods of personalization. It's not enough to criticize and work around traditional structures; We must replace them. The competency-based education movement seeks to replace the traditional factory model with a structure that is more equitable for all students. That is to say, at the heart of the CBE movement is equity.

Learning What Matters is our solution to this problem. The LWM competency-based framework was created through a partnership between Building 21 and the School District of Philadelphia. It is a structure that replaces time-based, age-based, and course-based structures with one that focuses on growth and readiness.

Opening Prompt

Think back to your k12 (or equivalent) experience. What is one specific learning experience you had that had a positive impact on you? What is memorable to you to this day?

Summer Institute Agenda

Building 21 Summer Institute at a Glance July 2018

Summer Institute Logistics

2018 Summer Institute Overview
2018 Kankakee

All resources and activities can be found on this site. This is a public site that will stay accessible if you need any links after the workshop. To get to this site, navigate to lwm.building21.org.

Please complete this brief evaluation at the end of the institute.


Your facilitator today is Thomas Gaffey. His unofficial title is Chief of Clever Work-arounds at Building 21.



Thomas joined Building 21 after seven years as a 9th grade math teacher at Philadelphia’s School of the Future (SOF) where he utilized problem-based and technology-driven learning approaches to support students in tackling real-world problems. Thomas was also the Director of Educational Technology at SOF managing their one-to-one laptop program. As a Microsoft Innovative Educator master trainer and founder of What If Partners, LLC., Thomas has led professional development for teachers and school districts nationally. As the Chief Instructional Technologist and Building 21, Thomas co-created the Learning What Matters (LWM) Competency Framework and the Building 21 instructional model, developed a Google Apps-based prototyping system for data dashboards, and designed a competency-based LMS within the open source platform, Slate. He is now leading an expansion effort to help districts across the country use the Learning What Matters (LWM) competency framework to personalize education for students.