Policy Conditions in Action: Continuous Improvement in Rhode Island

Topics: Education Policy

In our recent State Policy Framework for Personalized Learning, we share a framework that can help guide states in their work towards statewide transformation to ensure personalized learning opportunities for all students.

Personalized learning can be a powerful approach for ensuring readiness for postsecondary education and career and for addressing racial, economic, gender and geographic disparities. To implement personalized learning with fidelity takes hard work and collaboration at every level of the system.

The State Policy Framework for Personalized Learning will help states and stakeholders define and navigate their pathway from the exploratory phase of system design, where a limited number of districts engage in personalized learning practices, to statewide transformation.

Early adopter: spotlight on Rhode Island

Within our framework, we outline a set of policy conditions states will need to tackle as they refine and transform their policy system to one that ensures all students in the state benefit from high-quality personalized learning experiences. We also highlight early adopter states to illustrate each policy condition. For the policy condition Continuous Improvement, we shine a spotlight on Rhode Island.

In Rhode Island’s ESSA plan, the state revealed five core principles to guide school improvement efforts:

  • Learning must be personalized to meet the needs of all students, and a broad variety of pathways to college and career readiness must be made available so that student and family choice can be a key driver in educational attainment.
  • School improvement requires innovation, and that innovation cannot be achieved through coercion but rather through empowerment of those closest to the students, namely families and educators.
  • This empowerment must come through the form of greater flexibility and autonomy at the school level, while maintaining tight standards of accountability for outcomes and taking appropriate action if needed when outcomes are not met.
  • School improvement is the work of all members of the state community, meaning Rhode Island must emphasize shared responsibility for improving opportunities and outcomes for every Rhode Island student. This mutual responsibility acknowledges that all education partners in the state can and should play a role in improving access to high quality opportunities and educational outcomes for students.
  • School improvement is not possible without authentically engaged communities and families at all stages of the planning and implementation of school improvement efforts.

The state has also launched a School Redesign Program that empowers communities and schools with greater flexibility and autonomy to design school improvement efforts. Districts, in conjunction with Community Advisory Boards and schools, may select or develop a school improvement plan that best meets their local needs.

Moving to personalized learning throughout your state is a big undertaking with even bigger rewards. Not sure which policy conditions to begin with? Take this short quiz to find out.