Seventeen Daviess County Public Schools teachers were involved last year in learning strategies designed to give students “a voice and a choice” in how they learn, and now are putting those strategies to work in classrooms at five schools across the district.
These educators are part of the nation’s largest effort to personalize learning in America’s public school districts. The project, titled kid-FRIENDLy, is a $41 million effort underway in 22 Kentucky school districts who are members of the Green River Regional and Ohio Valley educational cooperatives. kid-FRIENDLy stands for “Kids – Focused, Responsible, Imaginative, Engaged, Determined to Learn.” kid-FRIENDLy is the largest “Race to the Top” District project funded by the U.S. Department of Education. For more information, visit www.kidfriendlyky.com.
kid-FRIENDLy provided participating DCPS teachers with $12,500 to refine new practices they have developed based on the premise that students who direct their own learning will develop the initiative, responsibility and ability to plan, prioritize and problem-solve – skills employers across America emphasize are necessary for success in the 21st Century economy.
East View Elementary School educators Melanie Duckwall, Dennis Millay and Kari Kinder will assist students with the building and maintenance of an on-site greenhouse to provide innovative learning opportunities in an outdoor environment. The purchase of Chromebooks and other technology will enhance students’ learning experience.
Burns Middle School educators Mollie Willett, Katie Blandford, Kim Newcomer, Jessica Morris and Stephanie Snyder will purchase iPads to develop individual learning strategies where students can view lessons, conduct research and review concepts at their own pace until skills are mastered.
Daviess County Middle School teachers Lyndsey Kunze, Sara Appleby and Olga Payne will continue their Communities of Practice participation and will continue implementation of self-paced learning with the purchase of iPad minis, Chromecast, speakers and other materials.
Highland Elementary School teachers Erin McCormick, Katie Freeman and Kraton Dodson will offer students personalized learning stations with new chairs, bean bag chairs, soft seats and ottomans to encourage independence and self-motivation.
Audubon Elementary School teachers Tina Jennings, Bonita French and Jessica Sanders are focusing on providing students with warm, kid- friendly environment that includes a variety of seating options that allow students to explore and master content at their own pace.
These 17 educators joined more than 250 Teacher Leaders who are developing teaching practices to personalize learning for approximately 60,000 students at 112 schools involved in kid-FRIENDLy. These Teacher Leaders have committed to be innovators and risk-takers as they work toward their shared goal of ultimately influencing change and growth among their peers.
GRREC and OVEC have coaches on staff who support the Teacher Leaders as they craft personal innovation plans. These coaches also work with teachers in their classrooms, at regional learning forums and through online collaboration.
This year, Teacher Leaders will develop Learning Labs, where they will share new instructional strategies with their peers. The Learning Labs will become Demonstration Classrooms that will be open to teachers across Kentucky and the nation who are looking for strategies to personalize learning for their students.