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[PL Summit Series] Fostering Personalization through Leadership, Freehold Township Schools

[PL Summit Series] Fostering Personalization through Leadership, Freehold Township Schools

Personalized Learning  |  EE Summit  |  Innovative Leadership

"Preaching to the choir (or the converted - for secular appeal)!”  This phrase sums up the amazing experience of sharing our district’s story amongst a room full of skillful professionals working on the same mission in education.  It was exhilarating to learn as much as we were able to share, if not more, at Education Elements' Personalized Learning Summit in San Francisco.  

Our district’s journey was shared on Friday morning at the PL Summit, which began with our Personalized Learning Vision fostered through the support of Amy Jenkins and Ray Rozycki and collaboratively created from the thoughts, ideals, and insights of our Administrative Team (25 team members consisting of principals, curriculum supervisors, directors, and our BA).   Our goal that morning was to tell our story and share the tools and structures we utilized (to lead our team by example) with our audience of educators. 

We shared that in order to build an innovative team, an essential component to fostering the changes needed to truly personalize education, we needed to model our expectations through our own actions with our Leadership Team (Administrative Team).  To promote environments in our schools that encouraged innovation, risk taking, out-of-the-box thinking, and experimenting we built a retreat for our team in August 2015 that provided common background experiences and understandings moving forward into the new school year. 

The results of this professional development day were the creation of five pilots for our eight schools -- opportunities for each building to embark on solutions to personalized-learning-identified problems.  These solutions would later cross-pollinate and allow our district to scale up personalized learning and map out the work necessary across the next five years in order to completely fulfill our vision.  In order to elicit a common framework to create personalized pilots we created a website and utilized collaborative tools to foster our retreat and archive our transformation.  We shared this framework, the website, and the tools with our audience during our interactive presentation.  The following is an abbreviated recap of that work:

Our Leadership Team began the retreat with the Marshmallow Challenge and reflections via Padlets.  They viewed video clips, reflected individually and in small groups, and actively participated the entire day.  From Rubik’s Cube to Tom Kelley's Ten Faces of Innovation our team reflected on their current beliefs and their vision for the future of education.  We utilized the Ten Faces of Innovation and Kelley's research on the personas (faces) that comprise innovative teams.  Our team members identified themselves as well as their school-based teams in order to highlight strengths and identify areas in need of representation (as an example: the “storyteller” persona) to maximize innovation across our district.  Then, based on our shared vision, teams created pilots that would move toward personalization and impact student learning.  We carefully and constantly monitored progress, iterated along the way and focused on this critical work as we grew and learned together!

With the keynote speakers, district-led sessions, and vendor collaboration, learning and presenting at Education Elements' Personalized Learning Summit was extremely rewarding.  A huge “Thank You!” to Anthony Kim, Amy Jenkins, Kelly Freiheit, and the support team during the PL Summit.  

Access the slides

About Dr. Ross Kasun - Guest Author

Dr. Ross Kasun is currently serving in his seventh year as the Superintendent for the Freehold Township School District in Freehold, New Jersey and was chosen as the 2017 New Jersey Superintendent of the Year. Students being leaders of their own learning is a cornerstone of his vision. For his efforts to use technology to foster personalized learning, Dr. Kasun was chosen to participate in the first cohort for the Lexington Education Leadership Award. This six month Fellowship helped create a vision that transformed learning throughout the district.

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