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Aurora Institute

Competency-Based Education Across America

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Laurie Gagnon

Issue(s): Issues in Practice, Lead Change and Innovation, Rethink Instruction, Learn Lessons from the Field

This post compiles links to more than 200 CompetencyWorks blog posts from our site visits and interviews in 28 states, organized by state. Schools, districts, and support organizations have used these inspiring accounts of local reforms to inform deeper competency-based learning and systems change in their own settings. The map below provides a visual and also shows states for which there are CompetencyWork blog posts by guest authors. These accounts illustrate how widespread investment in policies that support and enable CBE come to life in practice across the country.

A Map of CompetencyWorks Blog Posts

US map showing states with CompetencyWorks Blog posts.


Chugach School District (2019)

Part 1 – Rethinking Grade Levels and Age Groupings at the Whittier Community School

Part 2 – Bringing Parents Into Competency-Based Schools

Part 3 – Pathways, Pacing, and Agency Are Intertwined

Part 4 – Sustaining and Sharing Cultural Heritage at the Tatitlek Community School

Chugach School District (2015)

Report – Chugach School District: A Personalized, Performance-Based System

Part 1 – Explorations in Competency Education

Part 2 – Driven by Student Empowerment: Chugach School District

Part 3 – Chugach School District’s Performance-Based Infrastructure

Part 4 – Chugach Teachers Talk about Teaching

Part 5 – Ownership, Not Buy-In: An Interview with Bob Crumley, Superintendent Chugach School District

Part 6 – Chugach School District: Performance-Based Education in a One-Room School House

Part 7 – Teaching through the Culture: Native Education in a Performance-Based System

Part 8 – Performance-Based Home Schooling

Highland Tech Charter School (2014)

Part 1 – Highland Tech Charter School – Putting it All Together

Part 2 – Advice From Highland Tech Students


Springdale School District (2017)

Part 1 – Springdale, Arkansas: A Tradition of Innovation and Future of Opportunity

Part 2 – Building Learning Momentum at Springdale’s School of Innovation

Part 3 – Finding Time and Providing Support for Student-Driven Learning

Part 4 – Encouraging Learning Risks and Growth

Springdale School District (2015)

Innovation Springing Up in Springdale


Da Vinci Schools (2020)

Part 1 – A Hybrid On-Campus and Homeschool Support Program at Da Vinci ConnectX

Part 2 – Earning Diplomas and Degrees Together – A Competency-Based Dual Enrollment School

Del Lago Academy (2020)

Part 1 – Interdisciplinary Projects and Assessment Practices at Del Lago Academy

Part 2 – Science Competencies and Micro-credentials at Del Lago Academy

Part 3 – Personalization and Positive School Culture at Del Lago Academy

Part 4 – A High School With No Students – Only “Scholars”

Learn4Life Schools (2020)

Part 1 – Ensuring Responsiveness to Student Needs at Learn4Life Schools

Part 2 – Educating the Whole Child (and Young Adult) at Alta Vista Innovation High School

Da Vinci Schools (2018)

Part 1 – Innovation in the Air at Da Vinci Schools

Part 2 – Conversations about Learning at Da Vinci

Part 3 – RISE (Revolutionary Individualized Student Experience)

Lindsay Unified High School  (2015)

Part 1 – Six Trends at Lindsay Unified School District

Part 2 – Preparing Students for Life….Not Just College and Careers

Part 3 – An Interview with Principal Jaime Robles, Lindsay High School

Part 4 – An Interview with Brett Grimm: How Lindsay Unified Serves ELL Students

Part 5 – It Starts with Pedagogy: How Lindsay Unified is Integrating Blended Learning

Barack Obama Charter School (2013)

Ingenium Schools: A Big City Competency-Based School


Denver (2018)

Denver School of Innovation and Sustainable Design (DSISD): Competency-Based by Design

Thompson (2018)

Thompson School District: Student-Driven Learning at Work!

District 51 (2017)

Part 1 – Designing Performance-Based Learning at D51

Part 2 – Building Consensus for Change at D51

Part 3 – The Vision of Performance-Based Education at D51

Part 4 – Holacracy: Organizing for Change at D51

Part 5 – Growing into the Framework: D51’s Implementation Strategy

Part 6 – Laying the Foundation with Culture and Climate

Part 7 – Supporting Teachers at D51: A Conversation with the Professional Learning Facilitators

Part 8 – Creating a Transparent Performance-Based System at D51

Part 9 – New Emerson: Learning the Effective Practices of the Learner-Centered Classroom

Part 10 – Transparency and Trust

Part 11 – Lincoln Orchard Mesa: What Did You Notice?

Part 12 – Performance-Based Learning in a Dual Immersion School

Part 13 – R5 High School: Abuzz with Learning

Part 14 – The Teacher Association Perspective on Performance-Based Learning

Part 15 – A Journey of Discovery at Broadway Elementary

Westminster (2017)

Lessons from a Vanguard: A Look at Metz Elementary


Overview (2016)

Superintendents Leading the Way in Connecticut

Naugatuck Public Schools (2016)

Naugatuck Public Schools: Making Meaning for Teachers with Mastery-Based Learning

New Haven (2016)

Creating Meaningful Instruction through Mastery-Based Learning in New Haven, CT

New Haven Academy: Pedagogy Comes First

Windsor Locks Public Schools (2016)

Windsor Locks: Starting with Pedagogy


Lake County Schools (2016)

Part 1 – Lake County Schools: Designing a Strategy to Bring Personalized Learning to Scale

Part 2 – Lake County Schools: Moving at the Speed of Trust at South Lake High School

Part 3 – Lake County Schools: Lost Lake Elementary is Putting the Fun Back into Teaching

Part 4 – Lake County Schools: Sawgrass Bay Elementary Increases Engagement with Personalized Learning

Part 5 – Lake County Schools: Windy Hill Middle School


Henry County, Georgia (2016)

Part 1 – Henry County Schools: Four Big Takeaways

Part 2 – Henry County Schools: Ensuring Success for Each Student

Part 3 – Henry County Schools: Scaling Strategies for Mid-Size Districts

Part 4 – Henry County Schools: What All of This Means for Schools

Part 5 – Henry County Schools: Impact Academy

Fulton County Schools (2014)

Fulton County Schools: A Big District Approach to Competency Education


Mastery-Based Learning in Idaho (2018)

Part 1 – Mastery-Based Learning in Idaho

Part 2 – Finding Synergy at Kuna Middle School

Part 3 – Moving Forward toward Mastery at Kuna School District

Part 4 – Increasing Credits Earned at Initial Point High School

Part 5 – Finding and Fixing the Missing Skills at Greenhurst Elementary School

Part 6 – Columbia High School: How a Comprehensive High School Becomes Mastery-Based

Part 7 – Gathering Insights on Mastery-Based Learning from Columbia High School

Part 8 – Slaying the Dragon: A Conversation with Cory Woolstenhulme on Mastery-Based Learning

Part 9 – Central Academy, West Ada School District

Part 10 – The Sharp Ones: A Few Takeaways from Idaho


Chicago (2017)

Part 1 – CBE in Chicago

Part 2 – Leap Innovations – Learning Exponentially for Advancing Potential

Part 3 – Loving Learning at Lovett Elementary

Part 4 – Personalizing Learning at West Belden

Part 5 – Getting Results at Lindblom

Part 6 – Servant to Two Masters: Balancing Skills and Content at Lindblom

Part 7 – Juarez Community Academy: When Big Schools Become Competency-Based


Eminence School District (2015)

A Conversation with Buddy Berry in Eminence Kentucky


Biddeford School District (2015)

Part 1 – Biddeford School District: Never Unpack Alone

Casco Bay High School (2015)

Part 2 – Casco Bay High School: Tips and Takeaways

Part 3 – Casco Bay High School: Learning as Exploration

Part 4 – Casco Bay High School: The What and HOW of Learning

Part 5 – Casco Bay High School: We Will Shape our School by our Learning

Noble High School (2015)

Part 6 – Noble High School: Creating Timely, Differentiated Supports

Deer Isle-Stonington High School (2015)

Part 7 – Deer Isle-Stonington High School: Turning Around the Culture

Part 8 – Deer Island-Stonington High School: Breathing Life into the Standards

Part 9 – Deer Isle-Stonington High School: Takeaways and Burning Questions

RSU2 (2016)

Part 10 – RSU2: Entering a New Stage in Building a High Quality Proficiency-Based District

Part 11 – RSU2: Continuous Improvement at Richmond Middle and High School

Part 12 – RSU2: Moving Beyond Grade-Driven Learning

Part 13 – RSU2: Moving Beyond the Test Score with Hope

Wells High School (2016)

Part 14 – Wells High School: The Timeline to Transformation

University of Maine at Presque Isle (2016)

Part 15 – University of Maine at Presque Isle: Moving at the Speed of Light

Part 16 – UMPI: Faculty Perspective

Part 17 – University of Maine at Presque Isle: Eliminating Remediation

Northern Maine Education Collaborative (2016)

Part 18 – Northern Maine Education Collaborative: High Aspirations

RSU2 (2014)

Part 1 – Quick Update from RSU2 in Maine

Part 2 – Virgel Hammonds’ Six Insights Into Leadership


Alternative Choices in Education (ACE) Program at Brookline HS (2023)

Culture is the Foundation: Building Relationships and Community at ACE

Prospect Hill Academy (2022)

Proving Your Learning Through Portfolio Presentations

Parker Charter Essential School (2022)

Celebrating Readiness for the Next Challenge: Gateway at the Parker School

Opportunity Academy (2022)

Part 1 – The Primary Person Model and Transformative Learning Experiences at Opportunity Academy

Part 2 – Strategies for Responsive Pacing at the Success Center

Four Rivers Charter Public School (2019)

Part 1 – Building a Powerful School Culture at Four Rivers

Part 2 – Empowering Teachers as School Leaders at Four Rivers

Part 3 – Active Learning through Expeditions and Internships at Four Rivers

Melrose Public Schools (2016)

Can Melrose Go Deeper with Competency-Based Education?

Boston Day and Evening Academy (2012)

Part 1 – Reading the Pulse of Students at Boston Day and Evening Academy

Part 2 – Boston Day and Evening Academy: Where Competency Education is Good Teaching Practice

Part 3 – Boston Day and Evening Academy: A Learning Organization


Schools for the Future (2012)

No One Graduates Before They Are Ready


Eastern Carver County Schools (2019)

Part 1 – District-wide Transformation to Personalized Learning in Eastern Carver County

Part 2 – Personalizing Learning in an Alternative Arts High School

Part 3 – It Takes a Village to Personalize Learning to Every Student

Part 4 – Flexible Scheduling, Supports, and Monitoring at Pioneer Ridge Middle School

Part 5 – Strategies for Building Student Ownership of Their Learning

Part 6 – Eastern Carver’s Framework for Lifelong Learning Skills

Farmington Area School District (2019)

Part 1 – “Radical Trust” and Teacher Agency Drive Deeper Change in Farmington

Part 2 – Shifting the English Department to Competency-Based Learning

Part 3 – Shifting the English Department to Competency-Based Assessment

Part 4 – Interstellar Time at Boeckman Middle School

Part 5 – Innovative Scheduling: Digital e-Learning Days and Academic Support Periods

Eastern Carver County Schools (2016)

Part 1 – Moving from Islands of Innovation to a District of Distinction in Personalized Learning

Part 2 – Moving from Islands of Innovation to a District of Distinction in Personalized Learning


McComb School District (2018)

Part 1 – Personalizing the Learning in McComb, Mississippi

Part 2 – McComb’s Six Pillars of Student-Centered Learning

Part 3 – McComb’s Strategic Planning Begins with the Community

Part 4 – Piloting Change in McComb

Part 5 – Empowering Scholars at McComb’s Summit Elementary

Part 6 – Starting with the Kindergarteners in McComb

Part 7 – Starting the Journey to CBE at Otken Elementary School

Part 8 – Supporting Practitioners in McComb

New Hampshire

Parker-Varney Elementary (2016)

Parker-Varney Elementary: Keepers of the Bar

Making Community Connections Charter School  (2014)

Part 1 – Igniting Learning at the Making Community Connections Charter School

Part 2 – Gateways, Not Grades

Pittsfield School District (2014)

Part 1 – Redesign at Pittsfield School District

Part 2 – Hand in Hand: Pittsfield Integrates Personalized Learning and Competency Education

Part 3 – Pittsfield Rethinks Adult Roles

Part 4 – Implementation Insights from Pittsfield School District

Sanborn Regional School District (2014)

Part 1 – Sanborn Regional School District Flips District Reform

Part 2 – Addressing Root Causes at Memorial Elementary School

Part 3 – Raising the Bar at Sanborn Regional High School

New Jersey

Merit Prep (2015)

Part 1 – Merit Prep: Where Students Feel Safe to Learn

Part 2 – Non-Linear Progressions and Culture of Safety at Merit Prep

New York, New York City

South Bronx Community Charter High School (2020)

Part 1 – Competency Frameworks and Content Selection at South Bronx Community Charter

Part 2 – Transitioning and Sustaining Competency-Based Education During School Closures

School Visits (2019)

Part 1 – The Mastery Collaborative: Dozens of NYC Schools Support Each Other’s Reforms

Part 2 – Diversifying the Student Body and Personalizing Student Schedules at NYC iSchool

Part 3 – Mastery-Based Making: The Urban Assembly Maker Academy

Part 4 – Project Example: Mobile App Design at Urban Assembly Maker Academy

Overview and Insights (2016)

Part 1 – NYC Big Takeaways

Part 2 – Catalyzing Mastery-Based Learning: NYC’s Mastery Collaborative

Part 8 – Anchoring the Learning: A Discussion with Joel Rose at New Classrooms

Part 9 – Talking Equity with John Duval

The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria (2016)

Part 3 – The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria

Flushing International (2016)

Part 4 – Flushing International’s Three Learning Outcomes: Habits, Language, and Academic Skills

KAPPA International (2016)

Part 5 – KAPPA International: The Story of Angelica

North Queens Community High School (2016)

Part 6 – North Queens Community High School: Blooming the Outcomes

EPIC North (2016)

Part 7 – High Expectations at EPIC North

Overview and Insights (2014)

Part 1 – Magical Mastery Tour

Part 2 – The Big Three Takeaways of the Magical Mastery Tour

Part 10 – All Together Now….the Magical Mastery Tour

Bronx International High School (2014)

Part 3 – First Stop of the Magical Mastery Tour: Bronx International High School

Carrol Gardens School for Innovation (2014)

Part 4 – Carroll Gardens School for Innovation (MS 442): Intentional School Design

EPIC Schools (2014)

Part 5 – EPIC Schools: Putting Young Men of Color in the Center of the Design (Part 1)

Part 6 – A Deeper Dive into the EPIC North Design (Part 2)

Bronx Arena (2014)

Part 7 – Bronx Arena: Organizing Spaghetti (Part 1)

Part 8 – Bronx Arena: Innovating Until 100% of Students Graduate (Part 2)

Urban Assembly Maker Academy (2014)

Part 9 – Asking the Right Questions: Urban Assembly Maker Academy

North Dakota

Bismarck Public Schools (2020)

Part 1 – Flex-Mod Scheduling to Enable Competency-Based Learning

Part 2 – Lessons from Tracking Student Flex Time in a Competency-Based High School

Northern Cass School District (2019)

Part 1 – The Evolution of Competency-Based Transformation in Northern Cass

Part 2 – Framing Habits of Work and Capstone Skills in Northern Cass

Part 3 – Transitioning to Standards-Based Grading


Cleveland Metropolitan Schools (2017)

Part 1 – Cleveland: Where Pedagogy Comes First

Part 2 – Starting with Design Principles in Cleveland

Part 3 – Getting to Know Students’ Business: A Conversation at Lincoln-West’s Schools of Global Studies and Science & Health

Part 4 – E3agle and PACT: Insights from Two New Competency-Based Schools

Part 5 – A Conversation with Teachers in Cleveland


West Albany High School  (2013)

If Failure is Not an Option, Neither are Supports


Building 21 (2016)

Part 1 – Breaking out of the Boxes at Building 21

Part 2 – Building 21’s Competency Dashboard

Rhode Island

Laying the Groundwork for Proficiency-Based Learning in Rhode Island

South Carolina

Competency-Based Education Takes Root in South Carolina

Red Bank Elementary (2016)

Part 1 – Red Bank Elementary: Five Big Takeaways

Part 2 – Red Bank Elementary School: Teaching Students, Not Standards

Part 3 – Red Bank Elementary School: Starting with the Pedagogy

Part 4 – Red Bank Elementary: What Students Have to Say about Personalized Learning

Part 5 – Red Bank Elementary: The Parent Perspective

Part 6 – Reflections on Learning

Part 7 – When Red Bank Went to Lindsay

Charleston County School District (2016)

Part 8 – Charleston County School District: Breaking Ground for Personalized Learning in Big Districts

Part 9 – Charleston: Progression of Implementation for Personalized Learning

Part 10 – Charleston: Personalized Learning at Pepperhill Elementary

Part 11 – Charleston: A Conversation with Teachers at Stall High School

Part 12 – Charleston: A Conversation with Teachers at Goodwin Elementary School

Part 13 – Charleston: Pinehurst Elementary School

South Dakota

Harrisburg School District (2019)

Part 1 – District-wide Transformation in Harrisburg, South Dakota

Part 2 – Littles, Middles, Molders, and Olders – Multi-age Learning at Journey Elementary

Part 3 – Habits of Mind and Learning New Ways of Learning at Journey Elementary


Montpelier Public Schools (2016)

A Conversation with the Two Mikes from Montpelier


Vancouver iTech (2021)

Structuring Standards-Based Instruction and Assessment at Vancouver iTech


Kettle-Moraine (2017)

Part 1 – Kettle Moraine: Where the Future of Education is Being Created Student by Student

Part 2 – Kettle Moraine: How They Got Here and Where They are Going

Part 3 – The Five Pillars of Teaching and Learning at KM Explore 

Part 4 – The Sound of Learning at Create House at Kettle Moraine Middle School

Part 5 – KM Global: Pedagogy, Curriculum, and Learning Design

Part 6 – Chasing Competencies at KM Perform

Part 7 – Reaching Out into the Community at High School of Health Sciences

Part 8 – Practicing What They Preach: Micro-Credentialing at Kettle Moraine

Part 9 – Distributed Leadership at Kettle Moraine

Part 10 – A Quick Look at Kettle Moraine’s My Learning Collaborative

Waukesha (2017)

Part 1 – Blair Elementary

Part 2 – FLIGHT Academy

STEM Academy

Part 3 – Creating a Learner-Driven System in Waukesha (Part 1) 

Part 4 – Personalizing Instruction and Learning Experiences (Part 2)

Part 5 – Waukesha STEM Academy: Rethinking Space, Time, and Reporting (Part 3)

Part 6 – Waukesha STEM Academy’s Journey from ABC to the Learner Continuum (Part 4)

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Laurie Gagnon

Program Director, CompetencyWorks

All blog posts from Laurie Gagnon