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Aurora Institute

The Learning Edge

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Chris Sturgis

Issue(s): Issues in Practice, How to Get Started

Laura Shubilla
Laura Shubilla

CompetencyWorks is releasing it’s 2nd issue brief, The Learning Edge: Supporting Student Success in aCompetency-Based Learning Environment today.  We picked the fourth element of the working definition, “Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs.  We learned from school visits that we often don’t think about the systems of supports until after the first year when all of a sudden we realize that there are a large group of students that didn’t reach proficiency in their courses.  They had to go back and do mid-course corrections that risked being add-on programming rather than an integrated school design. So we thought it would be a good idea to share what these schools are learning early on as competency education advances in communities across the country.

You’ll see as you read the Learning Edge that there are a number of ways in which competency-based schools are thinking about support and a system of supports differently.  We hope that you will share how you are thinking about it, what you have learned, and as always, what didn’t work so that we can continue to expedite our learning. If you are interested in learning more, you can find companion resources at the Competency-based Pathways wiki. You can also check out Chapter IV Learner Support in Making Mastery Work: A Close-Up View of Competency Education. We are also organizing a webinar for Thursday, March 21st 3:30 – 4:30 pm ET to talk more about this issue.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those that have generously shared their knowledge and deep insights about how we can provide the supports and opportunities our students need to succeed. Each of these individuals are dedicated to improving our schools as well as to exchanging knowledge across the country: Carmen Coleman, Richard Elmore, Mary Esselman, Linda France, Valerie Glueck, Kelly Grantham, Virgel Hammonds, Roy Harris, Kathy Harris-Smedberg, Mark Hatch, Alison Hramiec , Linda Laughlin, Steve Kossakoski, Tony Monfiletto, Liliana Polo, Nora Priest, James Rickabaugh, Rob Seward, Don Siviski, Marie Soucy, Angela Underwood, Ephraim Weisstein, and Beatriz Zapater. We were also able to more deeply understand the dynamics of the ways schools are embedding supports through our visits to schools including Adams County School District 50, Colorado; Hall-Dale Middle and High School, Massabesic Middle School, Messalonskee Middle School, Russell Elementary School, Williams Elementary, Maine; Boston Day and Evening Academy, Massachusetts; Nolan Elementary School and Schools for the Future, Michigan. We want to thank all the educators who welcomed us into their classrooms as well as the students who showed us their practices and evidence of learning.