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Aurora Institute

CompetencyWorks, Report

Chugach School District: A Personalized, Performance-Based System

Author(s): Chris Sturgis

Organization(s): CompetencyWorks

Issue(s): Issues in Practice, How to Get Started, Learn Lessons from the Field

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This paper explores how an Alaskan school district shifted from a traditional K-12 education system to a personalized, competency-based system, embedded in the culture of the community, which led to increased student achievement.

Chugach School District (CSD) first implemented competency education over twenty years ago, paving the way in developing a system founded on student advancement upon demonstrated mastery. This case study explores how CSD created the infrastructure to support a competency-based system, expanding learning beyond the classroom, embracing the culture of the community and developing educator growth.

With the community demanding that something be done about low student achievement, Chugach School District re-imagined what education could look like. They placed students and learning in the center surrounded by a structure that allows flexibility while ensuring students reach proficiency before advancing to the next performance level. As the first district to implement competency education in the United States, the pioneers at CSD paved the way in developing a personalized, competency-based system where failure is not an option.

The promising practices and lessons learned offered in this report provide K-12 education leaders and teachers with strategies to design and implement powerful, personalized learning models to maximize each student’s potential.