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Aurora Institute

Do You Feel It? Iowans Are Gathering Around CBE

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Chris Sturgis

Issue(s): State Policy, Redefine Student Success

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 12.56.02 PMIowans are gathering later this week to share their knowledge and ideas for advancing competency education at the CBE Conference:  Define!  Design!  Deliver! sponsored by the Iowa ASCD. As you probably know, the legislature set up a task force to look at the issue, including looking at pilot projects in Muscatine and Spirit Lake.  A final report is due this November with recommendations about how to proceed.

If you are interested, here are some of the highlights of the agenda. Iowans love twitter, so if you are interested you can follow along with the conference on the 26th and 27th.

Dream! Define! Design! Deliver!”
Rose Colby, Competency-Based Learning Specialist

Every teacher’s dream is to have students ready to learn, engaged in their learning, and competent in the demonstration of their learning. Yet, in today’s classrooms, the very nature of the learning environment, the varied levels of student readiness, and the shackles of standardized testing prevent us from realizing this dream. Welcome to competency based learning! In defining the core beliefs of competency based learning, we will look at the macro scale design of learning systems and the micro scale design of curriculum and instruction that supports students who will learn anytime, anywhere, and at their own pace.

“Getting Learning Right the First Time: Building Learner Capacity and Competence”
Jim Rickabaugh, Executive Director of CESA 1, Wisconsin

This session will provide participants with an overview of work underway in Southeastern Wisconsin to build learning capacity and success for all students by personalizing their learning. Participants will be exposed to an empowering way to think about and meet our national achievement challenge. The logic underlying the model will be examined and a powerful change strategy will be shared. Participants will hear examples of amazing results achieved by real students in real schools. This session also will introduce a continuum of skills and strategies to engage and empower learners in ways that build learning ownership and independence.

“Riding the STEM Wave with CBE”
Kari Webb, NW Iowa STEM Regional Manager, Iowa
Lakes Community CollegeThe latest Buzz Word in economic development tied to education reform is STEM: science, technology, engineering and math. Competency Based Education advocates would do well to ride this wave as it gathers momentum (and funding) across the state and nation. Participants will explore the intersection of STEM with CBE, including active learning, upside down pedagogies, outside-of-school learning partnerships.

“Tips, Tools & Schools: Competency-Based Learning”
Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Getting Smart

The shift from cohorts to competency-based learning is happening in schools across the country. This session will explore how competency education has the potential to connect learning to students’ passions and interests, drawing them toward higher order thinking and, therefore, deeper learning. Suggested Reading: The Shift from Cohorts to Competency

“What Might Compel Thee to CBE?  A Research-based Rationale Supporting Implementation of CBE”
Dana Schon, Professional Learning Director, School Administrators of Iowa

Test your beliefs about CBE in light of research and best practice during this interactive session. Ground yourself in the what and why of CBE so that you are best prepared to move the CBE conversation forward in your districts, organizations, and communities.

 “Designing Competency-Based Learning Models of Practice”
Rose Colby, Competency-Based Learning Specialist

This session will introduce participants to the concept of Models of Practice. The Model of Practice is a design element to guide teachers in creating high quality units of study in the competency-based environment. This model will take the participant through the design cycle from competency development and validation, design of high quality performance tasks tuned to Hess’ Cognitive Rigor Matrix, the formative assessment system to support learning and the grading framework.

“How to Write Competencies”
Bridgette Wagoner, Director of Educational Services, Waverly-Shell Rock

This session will explore the difference between standards and competencies, discuss the importance of alignment and explain the Competency Validation Rubric being studied by the Iowa CBE task force.

“Five Decisions to Make When Implementing Blended Learning”
Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Getting Smart

Tom will walk through the 5 decisions that school leaders will need to make when implementing blended learning. The decision discussion will include strategy, school models, platform & content, devices and staffing & development. This session will serve as an intro for Tom’s sessions to follow. Suggested Reading: Blended Learning Implementation Guide

“Project-Based Learning: The Complement to Competency-Based Learning”
Rose Colby,
Competency-Based Learning Specialist

Competency requires that student demonstrate their transfer of content and skills.  High quality project based learning immerses students in projects that allow student choice and voice in the product while requiring students to self-manage, critically think, and rigorously research.  This session is designed for participants to recognize the college and career ready skills that can be built into competency based high quality projects where the projects ARE the learning.

“Building Learner Capacity: Nurturing Motivation and Engagement for Deeper, Stronger and Accelerated Learning”
Jim Rickabaugh, Executive Director of CESA 1, Wisconsin

This session will offer attendees an in depth look at the roles motivation and engagement play in building powerful and lasting learning. A variety of research-based and practice-proven strategies to build and maintain engagement will be shared. Participants will hear the voices of students who are experiencing high levels of learning engagement in personalized, competency-focused learning environments. The power of motivation and engagement to build toward learner independence will also be examined.

“Digital Learning Tools”
Nancy Movall, K12 Online Learning Specialist, Iowa AEAs

Personalized learning blows open the opportunity for learning “onsite, online and on-my-own”. Technology will play a key factor as we learn to adjust the pace (individualized), adjust the learning approach (differentiated) and leverage student interests/experiences. Join us as we share and discuss what the future holds for personalizing learning with digital tools, including a personalized learning system being developed for AEAK12Online.

“Authentic Intellectual Work and CBE: What’s the Connection?”
Josh Griffith, 6-12 Principal, Collins-Maxwell; and Jeff Watson, PK-5 Principal, Collins-Maxwell

This session will discuss teachers’ learning, students’ learning, and the administrators’ own learning, as they have walked down the path of Authentic Intellectual Work, and as they continue to explore competency-based education in the Collins-Maxwell School District.  Through sharing their experiences, they will highlight the connections between these two powerful learning frameworks.

“Demonstrations of Learning: The Core of Competency-Based Learning”
Rose Colby,
Competency-Based Learning Specialist

This session presents the hierarchy of student demonstration of proficiency: simple tasks, complex tasks, projects, extended learning opportunities, and capstone projects. Each type of performance task will be highlighted with design criteria so that they can be expertly incorporated into student learning plans.

 “Building Learner Capacity: Coaching Self-Efficacy for Persistence and Resilience”
Jim Rickabaugh, Executive Director of CESA 1, Wisconsin

This session will provide attendees with a comprehensive view of the power of self-efficacy to build learner competence and drive achievement. Research and practices in support of the development of self-efficacy will be shared. Examples of teaching and learning approaches in a growth mindset environment will be provided. Participants will hear the voices of students who are taking learning risks, building persistence and using their resources to build learning strength. The role of self-efficacy in building ownership for learning and learning independence also will be examined.

“State and District Policies for Online and Blended Learning”
Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Getting Smart

Today’s school finance system was not created with the flexibility needed to support the wave of educational innovations spreading across the nation. This session will examine existing examples from state policies that are creating a student-centered finance system which; recognizes diverse student needs, allows dollars to follow students to high-quality online and blended learning options, creates mechanisms for ensuring quality, and fosters educational innovation. Portable, weighted, performance-based and flexible funding mechanisms will be discussed. Suggested Reading: Funding Students, Options & Achievement

“The Journey of Muscatine”
Andrea Stewart, District Gifted/Talented Coordinator, Muscatine; Chanda Hassett, English Teacher and Curricular Leader; Muscatine

Following the State CBE forum in December 2011, MCSD embarked on a design process that led to piloting CBE during the 2012-3013 school year. Approximately 1000 students experienced CBE pathways across all three building levels, and the district is currently supporting second and third teacher cohorts so that the work can expand for 2013-2014. Through a recursive process of design, data analysis, reflection, and revision, MCSD continues to refine the philosophy, methodology, and logistics of CBE with a focus on student learning.

“Transforming Public School Systems: From Traditional to Competency-Based Learning”
Rose Colby, Competency-Based Learning Specialist

This session is the presentation of a case study of the Rochester, NH school district. This K-12 school district of 8 elementary schools, 1 large middle school and 1 large high school journeyed for three years through their transformation to a competency based learning model. Visionary leadership has played a vital road in this multi-year effort in developing its K-12 competency based learning model. Observe how this school district led and empowered its teachers in the design of their new system of competency based learning, assessment, instruction, and grading.

“Building Learner Capacity: Strategic Development of Ownership of Learning for Retention and Confidence”
Jim Rickabaugh, Executive Director of CESA 1, Wisconsin

This session will offer attendees an examination of the role of ownership for learning in

increasing retention of skills and concepts and building confidence as proficient learners. Research and effective practices to build learning ownership will be shared. A variety of instructional strategies and frameworks to help students see their learning as their work rather than work they do for adults will be examined. Participants will hear from students who are developing a proprietary view of their learning. The role of ownership for learning in building learner independence will be previewed.

“The Next Steps of the Department of Education”
Sandra Dop, 21st Century Skills Consultant, Iowa Department of Education

The DE and the Competency-based Task Force are working toward the goals outlined in their Preliminary Report (January 2013). Iowa recently joined the Innovation Lab Network (ILN), a program offered by the Council of Chief State School Officers, to help states develop college and career ready students. This session explains the work of the Task Force, the next steps, and the continuation of this work through the ILN after the Task Force submits its final report.

“The Role of Cognitive Complexity in Competency-Based Education”
Brad Niebling, Iowa Core Curriculum Consultant, Iowa Department of Education

In this session, we will discuss how two prominent cognitive complexity framework’s, Bloom’s Revised Cognitive Taxonomy and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK), can be used to develop and assess competencies. We will explore these cognitive complexity frameworks, as well as learn about how they relate to the Iowa Core.

 “Building Learner Capacity: Growing Independence and Commitment to Learning as a Lifelong Pursuit”
Jim Rickabaugh, Executive Director of CESA 1, Wisconsin

This final session in the strand examining the Learning Independence Continuum© will focus on building learner independence. At this level learners are no longer dependent on external structures to support their learning and know when to learn, unlearn and relearn to meet their personal and professional needs and aspirations. Research on and strategies to build learner independence will be shared and examined. Participants will hear the voices of learners and their parents who are experiencing learning in ways that are building their independence and giving them skills to succeed in a rapidly changing and unpredictable world. The connections with and contributions of motivation, engagement, self-efficacy and ownership for learning to building learning independence will be discussed.

“Standards-Based Grading and Competency-Based Education – What’s the Connection?”
Matt Townsley, Director of Instruction and Technology, Solon

This session will explore a Venn diagram relationship between standards-based grading and competency-based education through the lens of the Iowa Department of Education’s Competency-Based Pathways and standards-based grading literature. Experience from a district utilizing standards-based grading will be context of this conversation.

“Leading the Learning: Designing Professional Development that Supports CBE”
Dana Schon, Professional Learning Director, School Administrators of Iowa

What does a professional development plan that targets CBE look like? What do teachers need to know and be able to do? What do principals and superintendents need to know and be able to do? Where do we start and how? Come explore the possibilities and network with colleagues to discover what the CBE journey might look like for you. This session will provide guidance for designing an approach to professional learning that supports CBE while engaging participants in collaborative conversations.

“The BIG Ideas School – A Model for Transformative Education”
Shawn Cornally, Headmaster, Big Ideas School

The BIG Ideas School is an effort by The Gazette Companies and Iowa TransformED. The School is designed in accordance with community input as part of “The Back-to-School Project” and demonstrates what competency-based, passion-driven, community-facing learning and “school” can look like. We will share the BIG Ideas School story and show how we are using it to drive community conversation and create “safe spaces” for public schools to provide such options to all students.