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ELC plans for personalized learning program

By Staff | Mar 15, 2017

Principal Brad Leonard

Program expected to start in 2017-18 school year

By David Swartz

Managing Editor

Estherville Lincoln Central High School Principal Brad Leonard reported on a new program that will begin next year called personalized learning.

“The concept is to meet the standards of the core through a hands-on approach, working through some traditional methods, but with more hands-on activities,” he said.

Leonard said the plan is to set up two introductory personalized learning cohorts for the 2017-18 school year-one for each semester.

In a report to the school board Monday, Leonard said this learning opportunity would be available for up to 20 junior and senior students both semesters. All students will be entered into the course based on a first-come, first serve basis with appropriate parent signatures.

What is personalized learning?

Personalized learning is a method for students to pursue personal interests individually or with a group of people who share the same passion. Students will have a variety of learning opportunities around the school to meet individual goals. Students will get the opportunity to pursue their passion based on experiential learning opportunities. All students will show mastery level knowledge of the standards before moving on to a new learning opportunity.

What personalized learning is not.

Personalized learning isn’t something that can be used to get out of having to do school work or go to school. The student still has to do different things depending on the topic or project outside or during school hours. There are certain standards that have students have to meet to achieve the credits for an A, which is the only grade they can get. The only difference is that the students don’t have to be in the classroom for most of a day. They are more independent in doing more hands-on and active projects that they choose.

What will the schedule look like?

The personalized learning cohort will meet in the high school library each day for periods 5,6,7 and 8. They will work within teams or on individual projects related to the variety of learning opportunities. There will be outside of school expectations and daily attendance will be determined based on what students are participating in outside of school hours.

What classes can the students participate in?

Each student can participate in up to four learning opportunities throughout the semester. Students will receive credit in each of the areas they show mastery level knowledge of the concepts while performing all learning opportunities at a proficient level.

Some of the areas of study may include robotics and engineering; coding/computer science; American literature/American history; current events/journalism/communication; sociology/composition/communication; and health occupations.

Leonard said there are questions yet to be answered about how the program will be operated. He will keep the school board updated on the process.