Principal - September/October 2019 - 27

designed to offer opportunities for connection,
collaboration, and problem-solving.
Most students choose to attend school
on off days as well, taking advantage of a
staffed Student Success Lab, the MidSchool
Plus Enrichment program, and STEM+Arts
Institute classes taught by community
experts and teaching assistants. Electives
include radio broadcasting, journalism,
kinetic sculpture, green architecture, and
culinary arts. The school recommends that
students spend approximately 20 hours each
week in a digital curriculum that can be
accessed from home or school.
Core courses contain elements of online
learning as well as direct instruction, with
adaptive tools that allow students to work on
grade-level content while addressing learning
gaps and building mastery in challenging
areas. An academic adviser oversees digital
coursework and assists with goal-setting,
progress-tracking, and the development of
individualized learning pathways that reflect
student interests.
Crossing the Digital Divide

If your school is considering adding digital
tools to personalize learning and meet new
instructional goals, keep the following strategies in mind:
„ Start small. Use pilot-style implementations
to test digital tools, then perform microchanges until you have success and can scale.
„ Focus on the learning. Rather than starting with technology, think first about what
you want students to learn and be able to
do, then explore which technologies would
facilitate that learning.
„ Establish communities of practice.
Communities of practice should be subjectspecific and allow all participants in the
community to be voices of change for the
school and/or district.
„ Understand the context. Define needs based
on culture, space, support structures, etc.
„ Continuously reflect and discuss. What's
working? What's not working? What needs
to be done to improve the curriculum?
Involve everyone in those discussions,
including students.
„ Ditch the idea of average. "There is no such
thing as average anything, including an
average student," Harvard professor L. Todd
Rose says in his book, The End of Average.
www.naesp.org

Students "are multidimensional and can
never be drilled down to a single score."
Common Pitfalls

According to Richard Culatta, CEO of the
International Society for Technology in Education
(ISTE), "There are three common pitfalls in the
installment of a personalized learning program:
We continue to treat learners the same despite
their unique needs and challenges. We hold the
schedule constant. And performance data arrives
too late to be useful to the learner. The least equitable thing that we can do to learners is treat them
all the same, because we know they each need different things."
Other pitfalls Culatta cited include "boiling
the ocean" (trying to do everything rather
than tackling small things first), focusing too
much on technology, not focusing enough on
technology, and prioritizing ownership over
buy-in. Consider all of these factors when
implementing personalized learning in your
school and/or district.
In addition to these cautions, be sure to:
„ Identify what's needed at the school and
district level, as well as the individual needs
of the students, to avoid miscommunications
that undermine classroom successes.
„ Listen to the students. Schools, districts, and
educators often think they know what students want-and they are usually wrong.
„ Make building relationships with students
a priority. Learning pathways are easier to
construct when educators have time to check
in with students regularly to reflect on their
learning journeys together.
„ Allow instructional decisions to guide technology use.
„ Take small steps toward a larger goal.
„ Put power in the hands of educators to guarantee buy-in, ownership, and accountability.
Technology can promote personalized learning programs even in areas previously thought
to be too unreachable or disadvantaged to be
on the cutting edge of educational culture.
Completely rethinking and redesigning your
curriculum is a challenge-but it's a challenge
that can help tailor learning to individual students' real needs.
Kathryn Kennedy is an education consultant and the
former director of the Michigan Virtual Learning
Research Institute.
Principal Q September/October 2019

27


http://www.naesp.org

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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