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Aurora Institute

Check Out What is Happening in New England

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Chris Sturgis

new englandI just took a peek at the New England Secondary Schools Consortium agenda for the conference High School Redesign in Action March 20-21. It is packed full of sessions on competency education (or proficiency-based if you live in Maine or mastery-based if you live in Connecticut) and personalized learning. Here are a few of the highlights – wish I could be there.

Agents of Their Own Learning: A District’s Proficiency-Based System Enters Maturity: District staff, principals and teachers from Maine’s Regional School Unit 2 will discuss what they’ve learned from several years of implementation, including structure, schedule, and other design elements that have empowered the district to dramatically increase personalization for students.

A Mastery-Based Lesson on Mastery-Based Learning is a look at how High School in the Community has advanced mastery-based learning to help all students take more responsibility over their own education, while they also address skill deficits, acquire college- and career-ready skills, and excel in their areas of interest. It is led by teachers Gail Emilsson and Adeline Marzialo.

Uncovering, Discovering, and Recovering the Gifts and Talents of Every Learner will be led by Kim Carter from the QED Foundation and a number of students from Making Connections Charter School. They’ll be discussing how to use learner profiles.

Supporting a School-Wide Competency-Based Grading and Reporting System is a look at Sanborn Regional High School led by Mark Giuliucci (Freshman Learning Community PLC team leader), Brian M. Stack (principal), and Andrew Wood (Career & Technical Education PLC team leader).

Introducing Aspire: Competency-Based Learning Unbound is a chance to hear from Anthony Baldasaro (chief human resource officer), Steve Kossakoski (chief executive officer), and Gary Tirone (special projects coordinator) from the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School. They are implementing a breakthrough college-readiness model that provides students and families with the opportunity to radically personalize learning by creating individualized “learning playlists” that reflect their particular interests and goals. Students earn competencies through a variety of learning pathways, including independent studies, projects, internships, work experiences, online courses, face-to-face courses, hobbies, service learning, or a combination of activities.

Proficiency-based Learning Simplified: Transcripts and Reporting will provide participants with a set of general principles they can use to design their transcript and reporting system for reporting the summative academic record of an individual student heading to college or the workforce. Participants will receive helpful samples they can bring back to their faculties.