Reimagining Education Through Personalized Learning

April 26, 2018, by Jimmy Minichello

personalized learning spring 18 - 1Superintendents and other educators attending the 2018 Spring Personalized Learning Summit were put right to work on the first day of their meeting in Virginia Beach. They were assigned to develop a vision and definition for personalized learning and identify specific focus areas to support the work of the AASA cohort.

“When we’re talking about personalized learning, we’re talking about our own definition and that’s ok,” said Gail Pletnick, superintendent, Dysart Unified School District in Surprise, Ariz., and the president of AASA. “What we’re doing is meeting the needs of our own communities.”

Pletnick facilitated Wednesday’s meeting and during her opening remarks talked about making certain the needs of every child are met. “There’s no wrong way to do this,” she said. “We’re creating a pathway. It is the way of the world.”

When describing the meaning of personalized learning, attendees used terms such as student agency, learning reimagined, active engagement and collaboration. When asked to describe traditional learning, the following thoughts were shared: bell schedules, sit and get, traditional rows of desks, conformity and no challenge.

personalized learning spring 18 - 2“When you think of personalized learning, you want (students) to have flexibility,” said Pletnick. “What we’re trying to do is reimagine education.”

The group will visit three schools on Thursday to view personalized learning in action. “What I hope you’ll see is the journey we’re on around finding opportunities for students to be successful,” said Aaron Spence, superintendent, Virginia Beach City Public Schools. “We’re focusing on student agency and creating their own voice in the learning process.”

To learn more about the program, visit the AASA Personalized Learning cohort web page, which includes AASA’s recently produced case studies featuring several members of the cohort. Superintendents and other school system leaders can also contact Mort Sherman, AASA associate executive director, leadership services, at or Debbie Magee, program manager, at

To join the conversation via Twitter, access the hashtags #LearnPLinAction and #AASAPersonalizedLrng.

Related reading: Student Choice, Student Voice In Virginia Beach