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Aurora Institute

What’s New in K-12 Competency Education?

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Natalie Slocum

Issue(s): Issues in Practice, Learn Lessons from the Field

What's new! star graphicNews

  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently awarded a $2.5 Million grant to Lindsay Unified School District and Summit Public Schools, called the California Consortium for Development and Dissemination of Personalized Learning (C2D2). By June 2019, they will develop an open source tool to clearly define personalized learning competencies for various personnel in the learning community. The tool will also identify systemic barriers that stand in the way of mastering these competencies and provide resources that support continuous improvement and development for the adults in learner-centered education.
  • Harvard’s Project Zero is studying how to teach for understanding and have found that when students have structures for thinking, better learning emerges.

Micro-Credentials for Teacher PD


School Designs

  • Red Bank Elementary, profiled by Education Reimagined here, is a leader in education transformation, designed around personalized, relevant, and contextualized pathways for each learner.
  • This USA Today article highlights how one Brooklyn school, Brooklyn Lab, is changing how students and teachers are taught. Brooklyn Lab is one of 10 to receive $10 million from the XQ: The Super School Project.
  • Washington’s Federal Way school board approved the use of a competency-based model for two alternative schools.

Student Agency & Voice

State Policy Updates

Progress in Schools

  • Lewistown Schools (Maine) are making progress in proficiency-based learning implementation. Leaders and teachers share their insights on these changes here.
  • Maine’s Scarborough High School is putting new diploma requirements in place, with proficiency-based requirements beginning with the class of 2021.
  • Durango’s District 9-R has been working towards a competency-based system for five years. Here is a news article written by Superintendent Dan Snowberger.

New Hampshire

  • New Hampshire’s Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE) program, designed to support competency education, has helped New Hampshire become the 2nd best state for K-12 education, according to U.S. News & World Report.
  • The Laconia School District school board in New Hampshire discussed the PACE program, including competency-based approaches to instruction and learning.

Communication & Community Engagement

  • How are schools artfully engaging parents in education transformation? Marie Watson, Principal of Red Bank Elementary, shares her insights and strategies.
  • Education Elements and The Learning Accelerator released a new communications guide that streamlines the planning process of communications, shares real-world examples, and offers resources and artifacts.

Call for Submissions: Social-Emotional Learning Competence Assessments

The Work Group for Establishing Practical Social-Emotional Competence Assessments of Preschool to High School Students is sponsoring a design challenge to identify new measures of social and emotional learning. They are seeking proposals for direct assessments in which SEL competencies are measured. Download the call for submissions here.


Great Schools Partnership is now providing resources in Spanish:

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