Why Personalize: Teaching and Learning in Warren Township, Indiana
Indiana’s Metropolitan School District of Warren Township is rapidly emerging as a personalized learning leader in the nation’s heartland. The district, one of sixteen winners of federal Race to the Top District grants from the U.S. Department of Education in late 2012, launched its first cohort of five schools implementing personalized instructional models in January 2016. Superintendent Dena Cushenberry and her leadership team chose a deliberative strategy to retool their schools’ teaching approach “to prepare their students for their future, not ours.” They implemented new commitments to professional development for their teachers to master the new pedagogy, embracing participatory innovation and a willingness to experiment. Using short- and long-term goals around growth as personal development plans for teachers and students alike, Warren’s classroom culture evolved into one where personalizing teaching and learning could thrive comfortably. Details follow.