Principal - September/October 2019 - 12

In response, our leadership team began to
imagine a new future for our school that would
give students more avenues for success after
graduation. And although graduation and
career are far off for elementary and middle
school students, curriculum and classroom
practice still need to prepare them for life. You,
too, might be looking to redesign these aspects
of your school to ensure their future success.
As we started to rethink teaching and learning,
we wanted to understand the "whys" behind our
ambitions. And when we started to look deeper
into the decisions our educators and leaders
made every day-from texts taught, to grading
techniques, to master schedule-it became
clear that the biggest "why" was "because we've
always done it that way."
We had to refocus our answers around a different question. We asked who we wanted our
graduates to be, and what we wanted them to
be able to show or do, upon leaving the school.
We owed it to them to foster the confidence and
skills they would need to successfully navigate
life, and we had to design a learning environment that would build the social, cultural, and
academic capital necessary to compete with
more privileged counterparts.
Transforming a school requires bending
mindsets and building culture. It requires a
communal appreciation of why you are making
changes that are sometimes difficult or uncomfortable. And by starting with the "why," we were
able to transform the school into a collaborative
learning community that focused on disciplined
inquiry of all our practices. This led to a boost
in test scores, increased the number of students
enrolling and succeeding in our most rigorous

12

Principal n September/October 2019

courses, and earned us Chicago Public Schools'
highest achievement rating.
Change Agent

It's a challenge I now see play out regularly
in my role as director of programs at LEAP
Innovations, a nonprofit that has worked with
more than 2,400 educators and 140 schools to
achieve transformation through personalized
learning. It's a style of teaching that empowers
learners to set their own goals, lead their own
instruction, and advance when they demonstrate competency.
Personalized learning creates multiple
pathways to guide students toward the same
rigorous standards for achievement, without
making the assumption that students below
grade level can't access tasks that require
higher- order thinking. It asks educators to consider the connections between classwork and a
student's identity, culture, and context-and it
often hinges on the "why."
Translating the why into whole-school transformation isn't easy. But our partner schools
have shown that, when done thoughtfully, they
can transform student outcomes. In our most
recent analysis, students in personalized classrooms advanced 13 percentile points in literacy
over students in traditional classrooms.
Inform to Transform

Over the past three years, we worked with
Perkins Bass, an elementary school on Chicago's
South Side that once struggled but was recently
awarded the district's highest performance
ranking and has seen math and reading
scores triple since it began its journey toward
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Principal - September/October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Principal - September/October 2019

From the Editor
Snapshots
5 Things
Getting to Why
A Brighter Future for Personalized Learning
Models of Voice and Choice
When Rural Gets Personal
Research Roundup: The Personal Touch
New Sensation
The Language of Learning
Giving Back, Together
In the Spotlight
Practitioner’s Corner
Early Career
Raising the Bar
The Reflective Principal
Speaking Out
Parents & Schools
NAESP Partners & Advertiser Index
Principal - September/October 2019 - Cover1
Principal - September/October 2019 - Cover2
Principal - September/October 2019 - 1
Principal - September/October 2019 - 2
Principal - September/October 2019 - 3
Principal - September/October 2019 - From the Editor
Principal - September/October 2019 - 5
Principal - September/October 2019 - Snapshots
Principal - September/October 2019 - 7
Principal - September/October 2019 - 5 Things
Principal - September/October 2019 - 9
Principal - September/October 2019 - Getting to Why
Principal - September/October 2019 - 11
Principal - September/October 2019 - 12
Principal - September/October 2019 - 13
Principal - September/October 2019 - 14
Principal - September/October 2019 - 15
Principal - September/October 2019 - A Brighter Future for Personalized Learning
Principal - September/October 2019 - 17
Principal - September/October 2019 - 18
Principal - September/October 2019 - 19
Principal - September/October 2019 - Models of Voice and Choice
Principal - September/October 2019 - 21
Principal - September/October 2019 - 22
Principal - September/October 2019 - 23
Principal - September/October 2019 - When Rural Gets Personal
Principal - September/October 2019 - 25
Principal - September/October 2019 - 26
Principal - September/October 2019 - 27
Principal - September/October 2019 - Research Roundup: The Personal Touch
Principal - September/October 2019 - 29
Principal - September/October 2019 - New Sensation
Principal - September/October 2019 - 31
Principal - September/October 2019 - The Language of Learning
Principal - September/October 2019 - 33
Principal - September/October 2019 - 34
Principal - September/October 2019 - 35
Principal - September/October 2019 - Giving Back, Together
Principal - September/October 2019 - 37
Principal - September/October 2019 - 38
Principal - September/October 2019 - 39
Principal - September/October 2019 - In the Spotlight
Principal - September/October 2019 - 41
Principal - September/October 2019 - Practitioner’s Corner
Principal - September/October 2019 - 43
Principal - September/October 2019 - Early Career
Principal - September/October 2019 - 45
Principal - September/October 2019 - Raising the Bar
Principal - September/October 2019 - 47
Principal - September/October 2019 - The Reflective Principal
Principal - September/October 2019 - 49
Principal - September/October 2019 - 50
Principal - September/October 2019 - 51
Principal - September/October 2019 - Speaking Out
Principal - September/October 2019 - 53
Principal - September/October 2019 - Parents & Schools
Principal - September/October 2019 - NAESP Partners & Advertiser Index
Principal - September/October 2019 - 56
Principal - September/October 2019 - Cover3
Principal - September/October 2019 - Cover4
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