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Sleepless in Seattle: Personalizing Learning In The Pacific Northwest

Sleepless in Seattle: Personalizing Learning In The Pacific Northwest

Personalized Learning

It is an exciting trend that educational agencies across the United States are launching regional initiatives to create deep, enduring models of personalized learning in an effort to adopt a new vision of public education that PSESD Logoaddresses our nation’s diversifying student body. One such agency is the Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) near Seattle, Washington. PSESD is one of nine regional educational agencies serving school districts and state-approved charter and private schools in Washington. This service district is deeply committed to becoming an Anti-Racist Multicultural Organization in order to eliminate the Opportunity Gap (check out their racial equity tool!). One of their core tactics to close this gap is personalized learning.

After extensive collaborative and coordinated planning among Center for Collaborative Education (CCE), Education Elements (EE), and PSESD personnel, the Puget Sound Center for Personalized Learning (PSCPL) was recently launched under the leadership of Director, Rafael Gallardo. Director Gallardo is a passionate educator and an innovative thinker who understands that future graduates are expected to think critically, problem-solve collaboratively, and innovate creatively. Like us, PSCPL believes that curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices need to be personalized to engage and prepare all learners for college, career, and civic life.

PSCPL is committed to supporting the transformation of schools to ensure the elimination of racial inequities and the success of every student. They will partner with educators and leaders in schools and districts across Washington to develop strategies, processes, and tools that support personalized learning. Through PSCPL’s support, the schools will be able to tailor learning to address each student’s strengths, needs, race, culture, and interests and give student’s voice and choice in how, when, and where they learn. Ultimately, these schools will be able to prepare every student to achieve academically and reach individual goals. PSCPL is designed to support students, teachers, and families in the development of flexible and equitable learning environments to ensure mastery of the highest learning standards to reach individual student’s goals.

PSCPL’s work will be guided by 5 core values, outlined in their PL framework:

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  • Vision and Strategy which addresses vision and core mission alignment, shared understanding and culture of racial equity, and clear strategies for measures and outcomes.

  • Student-centered Learning Environments which focuses on personalized learning plans for students, students as self-directed learners, and access to high quality, culturally relevant curriculum, instruction, and assessment.  

  • Habits of Mind including growth mindset for students, educators and parents, focus on personal success, and Social Emotional Learning (SEL).

  • Instructional Core which addresses instructional design aligned to students’ needs and strengths, instructional alignment to district/school outcomes and measures, and alignment and integration of instructional technology.

  • Continuum of Instructional Support focused on flexible learning environments, competency based progression, and continuous support to address inequitable patterns.

We were proud to be part of the “startup crew” that included EE, CCE, and PSESD to launch the PSCPL this fall. And we are thrilled to continue supporting PSCPL in Spring 2018. If you’re in the pacific northwest, be sure to check out PSCPL’s Saturday workshop series, which starts in January and includes a 5 course series on personalizing learning in your school or district. We look forward to reporting back on the exciting work that PSCPL will lead in 2018!


For additional resources on transforming schools and school systems, download our white paper, "Breaking the Mold: Understanding and Developing New School Models Part One".

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