Launching the District Conditions of Scale

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind since we launched the District Conditions for Scale. With presentations in California, Connecticut, Ohio and Texas, we’ve already seen the interest in these conditions which outline what’s needed to implement personalized learning in districts throughout the country.

The idea of identifying what districts can do in order to scale personalized learning came from Matt Williams, the Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at KnowledgeWorks, as our team visited districts having success scaling personalized learning practices. The more we learned from these districts, the more we realized all of these districts had things in common. We set out to define those commonalities – and the District Conditions for Scale were born.

We began doing secondary research, learning from folks like EdLeader21 and education theorist Ted Sizer. From the secondary research, we were able to test our best thinking about the steps districts can take to scale personalized learning with superintendents from around the country who were doing just that. The information gathered from these outstanding leaders, a list of which can be found in the acknowledgement section of the paper, allowed us to refine our thinking into the 10 District Conditions for Scale: curriculum, instruction, comprehensive assessment systems, student supports, learning environments, professional development, leadership development, technology policies, comprehensive data systems, and partnerships.

Since we launched the paper at iNACOL’s Annual Symposium in October, we’ve worked with superintendents and district leaders from across the country, using the district conditions to frame their thinking around personalized learning. This includes sessions with EASTCONN as part of their Personalized Learning and Student-Centered Learning Series, TASA’s Personalized Learning for Future Ready Students series, and Ohio’s Innovation Lab Network.

Now that phase one of the project is complete, we will embark of phases two and three. With the help of our awesome research associate, Sarah Jenkins, we will circle back with the district leaders involved in the initial research to discuss what tools would be useful for district leaders as they implement these conditions. Once we have identified which tools would be most impactful, we will prototype the tools and test them at a convening of districts leaders to be held this spring. Simultaneously, we will work with state education leaders to develop a state policy framework that states can put in place to make it easier for districts to implement the conditions.

We’re very excited about this work. The district conditions tools and state policy framework are scheduled to be released in June 2015. If you’re interested in being involved in or keeping up-to-date with this work, please visit our policy and advocacy page to sign up for our newsletter.

Jesse Moyer

Written by: Jesse Moyer

Jesse Moyer is the Senior Director, School Development with KnowledgeWorks. He is a believer in public education working and passionate about family, sports and fishing.

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