Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Personalizing Learning across a District


Verona Area School District (VASD) in Verona, Wisconsin has started the journey to personalize learning across their district. Their Board of Education believes that every learner must be successful and started with these Core Beliefs last year.
    verona learners
  • Our world, including Verona, Fitchburg, Madison and all the surrounding areas is changing dramatically and rapidly.
  • The needs of all of the learners and families we serve contribute to that change and compel us as an organization to change to meet those needs.
  • Unfortunately, some of the learners in our school district are not succeeding.
  • We believe this has an enormous negative impact on learners, educators, parents, policy makers, employers, employees, residents, homeowners, and citizens. As a community, we must take responsibility for EVERY learner.

How will VASD know every learner is successful?

Every learner in VASD has a personalized learning plan that provides a path to discovery and achievement and that plan is reviewed and changed at least annually based on the learner’s needs.

Every learner’s parent, guardian or advocate participates directly in the design, implementation, and outcomes of that learner’s personalized learning plans.

Every learner meets or exceeds the goals of his or her personalized learning plan every school year.            

Every VAHS learner graduates. Every VAHS graduate achieves their choice of college and career path, as detailed in their personalized learning plan.



Personalize Learning Webinar Series 
at Classroom 2.0


Mt. Abraham Union Middle/High School
Tuesday, November 12 at 5pm ET, 4pm CT, 3pm MT and 2pm PT
using Blackboard Collaborate in this room.
- See more at: http://www.personalizelearning.com/2013/11/personalized-learning-at-mt-abraham-umhs.html#sthash.8fnfZzkT.dpuf
Listen and learn from John H. Clarke, Lauren Parren, Caroline Camara, and Josie Jordan who are the architects of the Pathways Program. Robin Kuhns is an eleventh grade learner at Mt. Abe who will share what personalized learning means to him and his pathways to graduation. - See more at: http://www.personalizelearning.com/2013/11/personalized-learning-at-mt-abraham-umhs.html#sthash.8fnfZzkT.dpuf

Personalize Learning Webinar Series at Classroom 2.0


Mt. Abraham Union Middle/High School
Tuesday, November 12 at 5pm ET, 4pm CT, 3pm MT and 2pm PT
using Blackboard Collaborate in this room.
- See more at: http://www.personalizelearning.com/2013/11/personalized-learning-at-mt-abraham-umhs.html#sthash.8fnfZzkT.dpuf

Personalize Learning Webinar Series at Classroom 2.0


Mt. Abraham Union Middle/High School
Tuesday, November 12 at 5pm ET, 4pm CT, 3pm MT and 2pm PT
using Blackboard Collaborate in this room.
- See more at: http://www.personalizelearning.com/#sthash.Kq1xJdAN.dpuf

Personalize Learning Webinar Series at Classroom 2.0


Mt. Abraham Union Middle/High School
Tuesday, November 12 at 5pm ET, 4pm CT, 3pm MT and 2pm PT
using Blackboard Collaborate in this room.
- See more at: http://www.personalizelearning.com/#sthash.Kq1xJdAN.dp


So VASD had questions and researched how this was going to happen at their district. Betty Wottreng, Director of Technology Services contacted us last Spring and set up one cohort of the 5 W's of Personalized Learning with 50 teachers, Personalized Learning coaches, administrators including their superintendent, Dean Gorrell. Then another 5 W's eCourse this last Fall for 35 amazing educators.


The conversations in the eCourse were deep and made us also rethink what we know about personalizing learning. We agreed it was all about building a common language across their district and understanding what personalizing learning means for teachers and learners. Right from the first session about the What of Personalizing Learning, we could see we were working with dedicated and passionate professionals who really believe that the focus needs to be on the learners.

Teachers went back to their schools to continue the conversations. Betty Wottreng and Theresa Taylor, Principal of Glacier Edge Elementary as the leads for the Personalized Learning project realized that teachers wanted to participate in the Six Steps to Personalize Learning workshop. They then set up a sustainable coaching program with VASD's coaches to support teachers as they transform their teaching and learning.
Rita Mortenson, Barbara, Betty Wottreng, Laura Lindquist,
Theresa Taylor, Kathleen, Kim Schaaf, Kurt Knueve
Administrators and teachers from each school Connected the Dots where they chose an initiative and how they could transform it to fit under the Personalized Learning umbrella.

The Personalized Learning Coaches planned how they will be supporting their teachers and how we will be supporting them during the year. Check out their hip hop rap called Start with the Learner.

Then for the next two days teacher teams met with their coaches during the Six Steps to Personalize Learning workshop to transform at least one lesson or unit to include learner voice and choice.


We will be following their journey as they create and implement their lessons and units. A new 5 W's starts in February with their Personalized Learning Coaches beginning to facilitate the sessions.

We had a special moment with a Skype visit from a very special friend, Peter H. Reynolds from Fablevision. Many of the Verona  teachers had participated in International Dot Day so Peter answered questions and shared inspirational thoughts with teachers. Teachers even received their own dot.

Thank you Peter!

This is just the beginning of Verona's journey and look forward to sharing their project and reflections as a model for other districts.