Charleston, South Carolina: Balancing Competency Education with Student-Centered Culture
I’m on my way to Charleston School District in South Carolina today after great site visits to Lake County in Florida and Red Bank Elementary in Lexington, SC. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see competency education growing with a deep grounding in personalized learning and student agency. After I finish getting everything I learned in Maine and Philly written up, I’ll be sharing everything about this trip through the Southeast.
However, I just have to share Charleston’s description of personalized learning right now because it is so strong. For those who work in the online learning world, I hope that you will think about this carefully because when a school embraces this philosophy, online learning can be easily integrated as a powerful tool to support personalized learning, but not as the source of personalized learning itself.
Personalized Learning in Charleston County School District is built upon the concepts of Competency-Based Instruction and a Self-Directed Learning environment.
- Students have an effective teacher who meets them where they are, fills their learning gaps and accelerates learning
- Data, rather than seat time, is used to determine when a student is ready to move to the next concept
- Students work with their teacher to revisit standards that haven’t been mastered
- Students produce evidence of learning to determine proficiency
- Learning is transparent for all students. They know what they have learned, what they are currently learning and what they will learn next
- Students take responsibility for their learning, thereby increasing their engagement and motivation
- Frequent formative assessments drive instruction; summative assessments are given when a student is ready
- Focus is on student learning, not on test scores or grades
- Students receive timely, differentiated support and feedback based on their individual learning needs and formative data
- Show ownership of learning through setting goals and choosing activities to reach these goals
- Participate in the classroom visioning process through having a voice in how their class operates
- Articulate their learning gaps
- Extend their learning by applying learning in new contexts and learning beyond the curriculum
- Formulate questions and generate their own inquiries
- Plan and manage their workload and time effectively and efficiently
- Reflect on their learning and use feedback to improve their schoolwork
- Exercise choice in their learning pathways
- Track their data on a daily basis
- Take responsibility for their behavior
Their handout is much more visually powerful, as the educational philosophy is balanced with the student-centered culture.
Gotta run to get to Goodwin Elementary School to start my visit! More later.