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Aurora Institute

Competency-Based Education at #Aurora22

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Laurie Gagnon

Issue(s): Aurora Institute Symposium, Issues in Practice

Much like competency-based education (CBE) for students, there are many entry points and pathways for designers and practitioners of CBE systems. From this perspective, every session, including all of the keynotes, at next week’s virtual Aurora Institute Symposium 2022 has value for those interested in CBE. 

This post highlights a sampling of breakout sessions that are relevant to personalized, competency-based learning and systems design. It is organized by the three days of #Aurora22 and includes #hashtags to indicate the primary focus areas within CBE. You can also check out the strands in the program book, which are organized around topics critical to driving education systems change and advancing equitable personalized, competency-based education. 

Aurora Institute Symposium graphicMONDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2022

12:00-1:00 PM ET – Breakout Sessions

  • From the State House to the Classroom: Competency-Centered System Design Catalyzes Equitable, Rigorous, and Engaged Learning – Learn about #CBEsystems transformation in South Carolina with presenters from schools, the state department of education, and providers. 
  • Teachers of Color: District Pilots Designed to Increase Recruitment and Retention – Representation matters in building relationships with students and creating a safe and joyful culture of learning. #Culture #EquityByDesignCBE Definition with element 6 highlighted

1:15-2:15 PM ET – Breakout Sessions

  • Creating Equitable, Community-Based, Learner-Centered Ecosystems: Where Learning Lives Everywhere – Explore how to connect the diverse places for learning that exist in every community. #PowerfulLearning #AnytimeAnyplace

2:30-3:30 PM ET – Breakout Sessions

  • Apapacho, The Story of a Teacher-Leader Network Supporting a Capstone Graduation Assessment, Defined by a Community-Developed Graduate Profile – Learn about the collaborative, liberatory process educators and policy makers used to develop the supports educators need to create a more holistic and authentic capstone assessment and learning experience aligned to New Mexico’s graduate profile. #RethinkAssessment #EquityByDesign
  • We Are Empowered! Inclusive Environments, Enhanced Ownership of Learning, and Personalized, Competency-Based Pathways Have Transformed Our Education – Join students and educators from Eastern York School District in PA to get a view of CBE from the student perspective. #StudentAgency #PersonalizedLearning

3:30-4:30 PM ET – Book Clubs

  • Developing an Evidence Base for Culturally Responsive & Sustaining Instruction – Sharpen your equity lens and learn more about the evidence for culturally responsive and sustaining instruction. #EquityByDesign #PersonalizedLearning
  • Unpacking the Competency-Based Classroom: Equitable, Individualized Learning in a PLC at Work – authors Brian Stack and Jon VanderEls have deep experience as school leaders at the elementary and secondary levels and as support providers to those making the shift to CBE. #CBEinPractice


12:00-1:00 PM ET – Breakout Sessions

  • Rebuilding through the Unimaginable: How the Foundation of CBE Allowed us to Survive and Rebuild for our Learners – Explore the stories of empathy, self-advocacy, and creativity within a CBE system from the team at Metropolitan Arts Academy elementary school (CO). #CBEinPractice #StudentAgency

1:15-2:15 PM ET – Breakout Sessions

  • Professional Learning for ALL: The Collins Story – What can personalized, competency-based #ProfessionalDevelopment about CBE look like? Explore a Shelby County HS (KY) case study and start designing.
  • Teaching Players To Play Instead of Selecting Superstars: The Collective Responsibility of Transforming Public Education Systems –  Enrich your knowledge on the systemic barriers that currently uphold inequitable education in order to better leverage the promise of CBE as an #EquityByDesign strategy. 

3:00-4:30 PM ET – Workshops

  • Building 21’s Studio Model: Designing Learning Experiences for Engagement and Impact – Learn one approach for how to shift learning-experience design for CBE. #PersonalizedLearning #RethinkAssessment #CBEinPractice
  • The IEP Project: Changing Mindsets to Create Strength-based IEPs – Align supports for students with disabilities to the values of CBE. #DifferentiatedSupports #PersonalizedLearning


Aurora22 Student Panelists

12:00-1:00 PM ET – Breakout Sessions

  • We’re Empowered! How our voices, our choices, making learning transparent for students are increasing ownership of learning through personalization, one learning plan at a time – Learn about the CBE experience from Falcon Middle School (CO) students. #StudentAgency

1:00-1:50 PM ET – Networking Sessions (Birds of a Feather)

Grab your lunch or a snack and pick a networking group that connects to your role or area of interest. Whatever your experience level or role—student, teacher, leader, policymaker researcher, support provider—there is a group for you. 

2:00-3:30 PM ET – Workshops

As is true throughout, you can’t go wrong no matter which session you choose. These two focus on putting personalized, competency-based learning into practice in the classroom. 

  • PCBL in a PBL Classroom with JoAnn Groh of City Center for Collaborative Learning and Tadeo Pfister of the Paulo Freire Freedom School. #RethinkAssessment #PowerfulLearning #ProjectBasedLearning
  • Rigor by Design, Not Chance: 5 Essential Teacher Moves Promoting Cognitive Engagement, Self-Direction, and Deeper Thinking with Karin Hess of Educational Research in Action. #StudentAgency #MeaningfulCompetencies


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Laurie Gagnon

Program Director, CompetencyWorks

All blog posts from Laurie Gagnon