How can school districts provide personalized learning models to students?

Posted by Ronald | November 10, 2013  |  No Comment

America’s school system is constantly being criticized by individuals, business executives, policymakers and politicians about students’ poor performance on standardized tests and ill-preparedness for college and work. With the United States goal to have the highest proportion of graduates in the world by 2020, the critical question to be asked is: How can school districts provide personalized learning models to their students?

Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dallas Independent School District (DISD) is among 20 districts nationwide to receive a planning grant valued at approximately $100,000 to develop personalized learning models in its schools of the future. According to superintendent Mike Miles, DISD is committed to improving the way instruction is delivered to students both now and in the future.  He said, “This grant is an important catalyst that will allow us to begin the process of designing innovative schools that take the best elements of our current high-performing schools and combine them with personalized learning methodologies. Our goal is for all students to be prepared for the workplace in the year 2020 and beyond.”

The grant is part of the Gates Foundation’s Next Generation Systems Initiative, which will be conducted in three phases. The vision is to support districts and partner organizations in building system-level capacity to design, launch and scale school models that embrace personalized learning as a means to dramatically increase college readiness rates, particularly among low income and minority students.

For DISD, this could include evaluating empty school buildings to determine the best ways to utilize them as innovative schools of the future. Each phase of strategic planning will take six weeks to develop.  DISD will work with community partners, as well as the Boston Consulting Group to study best practices and prepare for the next step in the design process. Applications for full grants are due December 2013. Afterwards, the Gates Foundation will award 75 one-year new school planning grants and ultimately fund the launch of 50 new schools.

We applaud the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for taking the lead in working with schools to build the school infrastructure that will prepare our students for the challenges of a 2020 work environment.

 Dr. Ronald Holmes is the author of four books, “Education Questions to be Answered,”  “Current Issues and Answers in Education,”  “How to Eradicate Hazing and “Professional Career Paths.” He is publisher of “The Holmes Education Post,” an education focused Internet newspaper.  Holmes is a former teacher, school administrator and district superintendent. He can be reached at [email protected].

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