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PL Implementation Framework: 1 Year Later

By: Janice Vargo on October 18th, 2016

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PL Implementation Framework: 1 Year Later

Personalized Learning  |  Innovative Leadership

One year ago, my colleague Keara Duggan introduced the concept of a “bingo board” for personalized learning, formally known as our Personalized Learning Implementation Framework. This framework outlines the 25 areas we think are essential for a district to effectively launch, support, sustain, and grow personalized learning.

What a difference it made in our work! We’ve found that over and over again, the framework has been so helpful to district leaders at all stages of the implementation process. For district leaders just starting their journey, the framework has given them clarity on priorities. For district leaders who have been moving towards personalized learning for several years, the framework serves as a check to make sure they haven’t lost sight of essential building blocks.

As we always do, we’ve tested and refined the focus areas in our framework. We’re grateful for the many district leaders and thought partners who have given us feedback on how to make the framework even more clear and actionable. Over the past several months, we’ve a few changes to our framework; in the spirit of transparency and continuous learning, we have shared them below:

  • District PL Vision → PL Vision Alignment. We’ve found that while it’s relatively easy for district leaders to describe why they want to move to personalized learning, it’s a more challenging task to make sure the “why” of personalized learning is aligned to their overall district vision, strategic plan, values, and priorities.
  • Under our “Strategy” and “Design” columns, removed the word “District” from multiple squares. While it was always our intention that the word “district” was inclusive to schools, we wanted to be more clear that both the district central office and schools should have a plan for all these areas. For example, vision alignment must also happen at the school level, and it’s insufficient for a district to have a plan on how to roll out personalized learning across schools, but not support schools individually in their local rollouts. We’ve also seen amazing shifts in the culture of innovation begin at the school level and permeate throughout the district in a grassroots manner.

Bingo Board Map

  • Personalized Learning Framework as a Journey. In Keara’s original post, she described feeling some anxiety when playing “blackout bingo,” the game that requires a player to place chips on all 25 squares. We’ve found that district and school leaders experience similar anxiety when looking at the framework. While there’s a sense of clarity around the work, there can also be an overwhelming feeling of “there’s so much to do!” While we’ve always worked with our districts to prioritize, we have tried to improve our communication and methodology to make the journey less overwhelming. We have improved how we diagnose a district’s starting place through our initial district context inventory, readiness assessments, and conversations with district leaders. This allows us to have better conversations with district leaders about which areas of the framework should receive significant attention up front, which areas they can tackle later in the implementation, and which areas are in a good place for now. This change is a communications and mentality shift and isn’t reflected in our written framework.

Want to know more about how districts have used our implementation framework to guide their journey towards personalized learning? Visit us at Booth #339 at iNACOL next week! 

Education Elements Personalized Learning District Framework

About Janice Vargo

Janice is an Associate Partner on the Design and Implementation Team at Education Elements. She has supported a diverse group of districts in their personalized learning journey. Prior to Education Elements, Janice was a Senior Consultant for UPD Consulting where she supported state education agencies, K-12 school districts, and nonprofits on a variety of policy and technology projects. She holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s degree in American Studies and Spanish from the University of Notre Dame.

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