Skip to content
Aurora Institute

Top Ten CompetencyWorks Authors of 2023

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Laurie Gagnon, Briana Medina

This post looks back on the most-read 2023 CompetencyWorks blog posts by ten different authors. We didn’t count the ever-popular and handy Competency-Based Education Across America, which brings together more than 200 blog posts from CompetencyWorks site visits across the country. We offer our gratitude to the many leaders in the field who have generously shared their knowledge, tools, and perspectives to advance K-12 competency-based education (CBE).

4 Keys to Building Deeper Critical and Creative Thinking 

Figure describing cross-cutting college and career readiness Dr. Karin Hess

In this post, learn about four critical strategies to cultivate deeper learning and creativity. Find ideas for systematic changes – such as shifting the roles and responsibilities of educators and students – that are sure to change classroom culture to build agency. 

Equitable Grading Anchors NYC’s New Grading Policy Toolkit 

by Laurie Gagnon

A student works at a desk with an open folder and worksheet.

Explore New York City Public Schools’ approach to equitable grading in this review of its Grading Policy Toolkit: Grading for Equity, Accuracy, and Social-Emotional Well-being. Gain ideas for how districts large and small can support the alignment of practice to their visions for equitable learning with practical policy guidance. Photo by Competency Collaborative

The Shift In Action: Five Takeaways From Our Journey Towards A Competency-Based System 

by Dr. Melissa Olson and Joey Lee

Transitioning into CBE, Spring Lake Park Schools embraces their journey into the future. Olson and Lee offer their perspectives on what it takes to move away from the traditional education system and to a competency-based system. Explore five lessons they have learned along the way. 

Advice from the Field: Initiating, Sustaining, and Scaling Personalized, Competency-Based Learning 

by Maegan Bowersox 

Get advice from a practitioner in the field as you learn about Pirate Academy’s personalized, competency-based learning program located within a Missouri middle school. Find inspiration in the student success stories related to meeting students where they are, enabling students to move on, and cultivating learning dispositions. Learn from Bowersox’s reflections and tips on the change process. 

Reinventing the Traditional HS Diploma: International Big Picture Learning Credential 

A figure describing common learning goals (competencies). by Alyssa Weaver

The second installment of the Reinventing the Traditional HS Diploma series describes the characteristics of the International Big Picture Learning Credential (IBPLC), which began as a next-gen credential and an alternative pathway to the traditional Australian diploma. The IBPLC supports students with a personalized approach to interest-driven learning in and out of school along competency-based pathways that are unique to each learner.  

Diving into a Deep Blue (grass) Sea of Innovation, Part One: How Educational Cooperatives and Deeper Learning Teams are Poised to Help Transform Kentucky Education 

by Adam Watson 

Students standing next to their pinball project.
Photo provided by Adam Watson

As a Deeper Learning Design Specialist, Watson plays a crucial role in actualizing Kentucky’s “Three Big Ideas” for education: enhancing vibrant student learning experiences, fostering innovation, and promoting effective collaboration with communities. Through his expertise and guidance, Watson supports the transformation towards deeper learning by implementing strategies that align with stakeholders’ aspirations across the state.

From Memorizing for Tests to Learning for Life 

by Jose Guzman (student author)

Students are participating in a Socratic circle in a classroom.
Photo by Jose Guzman

A current high school student shares a student perspective of competency-based education. Guzman explores the transition to learning in a CBE model through first impressions, grading systems, and classroom assessment. Be sure to watch the video of CBE in action in a fishbowl activity from his classroom. 

Personalized Learning Plans at Bellows Free Academy in Fairfax, Vermont 

by Jensen WelchA figure describing the graduate profile at Bellows Free Academy.

In the second installment of Welch’s blog series, explore how Bellows Free Academy is applying Vermont’s requirement for personalized learning plans to create programs that fit the needs of their students. Learn how the school addressed three major challenges of PLPs surfaced through participatory action research: clarity, personalization, and future planning. 

Portrait of a Graduate: A Gateway to Competency-Based Learning 

by Khamiah Alderman and Briana Medina

This blog post reviews a new resource from Next Generation Learning Challenges, How Students Develop the Skills & Competencies in a Portrait of a Graduate. Explore crucial elements of how five districts are reshaping education through Portrait of a Graduate initiatives and examine their alignment with CBE principles.

A Self-Portrait of a Graduate 

by Courtney Williams 

A drawing of a portrait by Courtney Williams
Drawing by Courtney Williams.

Journey with the author, an art teacher in Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) in Kentucky, as she describes the importance of finding the full picture of a learner and understanding each learner’s individual journey. Discover how JCPS is dedicated to expanding deeper learning opportunities for all students. 


Laurie Gagnon

Program Director, CompetencyWorks

All blog posts from Laurie Gagnon