Personalized Learning @ South Lake High
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is personalized learning?
A: Personalized learning is a broad spectrum of educational opportunities for students that provides students VOICE and CHOICE in how they learn and demonstrate mastery of standards. At South Lake High, we view personalized learning as simply meeting students where they are and taking them as far as they can go, and then some, while assisting them in making global connections to their interests, community, college, and careers.
Q: Does this mean students will sit in front of a computer all day and teach themselves?
A: No. At South Lake High School, students who participate in Ignition Academy will have a diverse set of learning opportunities including Project Based Learning (PBL), hands on inquiry and investigation, seminars, interdisciplinary instruction, technology resource support, and work based/post-secondary education experiences.
Q: What is Project Based Learning?
A: Project Based Learning (PBL) is different from simply completing projects. PBL experiences are designed to address real-world problems and issues. Students will investigate and analyze their complexities, interconnections, and ambiguities. This is much like a Science Fair project that your child has likely participated in. You may have heard the terms “inquiry-based learning” or “learning by doing.” The learning process is integral to the knowledge and skills students acquire. Students learn about topics and produce work that integrates multiple academic subjects and skill areas.
Example: Students may be assigned to complete a project on a local natural ecosystem and produce work that investigates its history, species diversity, and social, economic, and environmental implications for the community. In this case, even if the project is assigned in a science course, students may be required to read and write extensively (English); research local history using texts, news stories, archival photos, and public records (Social Science); conduct and record first-hand scientific observations, including the analysis and tabulation of data (Science and Math); and develop a public-policy proposal for the conservation of the ecosystem (Social Sciences) that will be presented to the city council utilizing multimedia technologies and software applications (Technology).
This is project-based learning. As students become more adept at project-based learning, they will be given some freedom to CHOOSE projects that address the standards of their scheduled courses.
Learn more about Project Based Learning: http://www.edutopia.org/project-based-learning
Q: Will students still have a schedule?
A: Yes, students will have a schedule of seven courses. It will be possible, in some instances, for a student who has accelerated through the content to move on to the next course in the progression plan and complete more than seven credits in the traditional 180-day school year.
Q: Will students still have teachers for each of their classes?
A: Yes. There will still be teachers for each of the classes the student is scheduled to take. The teachers that a student has will plan together to provide opportunities to make interdisciplinary connections to the content. See the Project Based Learning question above for an example. Teachers and students will be flexible with their time to reach the unique needs of students.
Q: My child has teachers already who do this. What is different?
A: Yes. You are correct, many teachers at South Lake High do implement components of Personalized Learning in their classrooms. Our implementation of the full program roll-out will allow these teachers the time and flexibility to plan with the other teachers on the team to provide meaningful learning experiences that allow all students to advance at their own pace. In addition, the program assigns each student a Success Coach to work with them closely on the 21st Century skills such as time management, goal setting, planning, portfolio creating, etc. We often hear that students cannot get the individual attention they need from their Guidance Counselor. The Success Coaches will work collaboratively with Student Services to be an extension and provide that type of academic and skill guidance on daily/weekly based on student needs. Each Guidance Counselor currently has a load of 400+ students, and each Success Coach will have 20-25 students and will be a part of their academic team.
Q: How will technology be utilized?
A: Technology will be utilized as a resource for many learning experiences, much like the real world. Students may use technology to learn something new, practice a skill, take an exam, research for a project, create a video, replay a teacher live learning session they missed, etc. It is a resource to allow flexibility and support as needed and will be driven by the student and how they learn best.
Q: How will students get their electives/ Career Technology Education (CTE) courses?
A: Students will have electives opportunities. They will find that there is even more flexibility in the Personalized Learning scheduling process that allows them to schedule their elective choices and not give up the academic opportunities that previously caused conflicts. Additionally, this type of structure allows for students such as CNA students to spend all day in a clinical and return to their core classes without the additional pressure of catching up with what they missed.
Q: Will Class Size Reduction laws be broken?
A: No. Class Size Reduction laws will still be abided by and requirements met.
Q: What is a Success Team?
A: The Success Team consists of the student, parent, Success Coach, Academic Content Coach, Administrator, Guidance Counselor and Community Mentor. The Success Team will focus on the student and their strengths to create learning opportunities that keep the student moving forward in their learning through interests, support and differentiated modes of learning opportunities.
Q: Where can I learn more about schools who are implementing this type of personalized learning?
A: There are schools throughout the country that have moved to this model of learning and student support. They have seen significant gains in their SAT, ACT and PERT performance and college acceptance rates.
Here are links to a few resources from schools we are working with:
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