Decoding ESSA: A Blog Series that Uncovers Promising State Strategies to Enable Personalized Learning

Topics: Education Policy, ESSA

KnowledgeWorks has reviewed state draft and submitted ESSA plans to create an online resource highlighting strategies advancing personalized learning. Across the country, policymakers and communities are working together to develop new, innovative ways to advance personalized learning and rethink college and career readiness, equity and continuous improvement for their schools.

With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015, Congress gave states greater flexibility to design K-12 education systems that align to their vision for student success. Among the flexibilities provided, states were given numerous opportunities to advance personalized learning as ways to increase equitable outcomes for their students.

Over the last six months, KnowledgeWorks has been reviewing each state’s ESSA draft and submitted plans to create an online interactive map and resource that highlights state strategies for leveraging ESSA flexibility to advance personalized learning policies, models, and practices. Now, our policy team – including Matt Williams, Lillian Pace, Tyler Barnett,  Sarah Jenkins and myself – are ready to bring our insights to you in a blog series that will run through the rest of summer.

The blog series will feature many of the personalized learning trends that we’ve noticed emerging as each state looks to further its own vision and approach to teaching and learning. This ten-part series will highlight trends and feature examples from state plans. The posts will focus on the following areas, consistent with the required ESSA plan template:

  • Accountability – How are states designing accountability systems that create diverse learning opportunities for students and emphasize the success of each learner in the state?
  • School Improvement – How are states building school improvement systems that value continuous improvement for all schools through personalized supports, student-centered interventions, and broad community and stakeholder ownership for school reform?
  • Excellent Educators – How are states aligning their pre-service, certification, professional development and evaluation systems to create a seamless system that enables educators and leaders to advance through a continuum of supports that prepare them for success in personalized learning environments?
  • Supporting All Students – What types of initiatives or programs are states creating to ensure students have access to a wide range of rigorous learning experiences that align to their interests and goals and ensure readiness for postsecondary, career, and civic life?

The goal for our series, and for our interactive online resource as a whole, is to elevate states’ leadership in creating high quality education systems that provide innovative and flexible learning opportunities. We hope to help stakeholders identify and better understand the benefits of diverse approaches to personalized learning.

Finally, we aim to help states solve for potential unintended consequences of these ideas by opening the door to robust conversation among stakeholders and states.

Check in weekly for new posts highlighting the promising trends and some of our favorite examples from state plans, or get updates on new posts by following us on Twitter.

See for yourself how states are incorporating personalized learning into their ESSA state plans and what is happening in your state with our interactive map. See for yourself how states are incorporating personalized learning into their ESSA state plans and what is happening in your state with our interactive map.