Personalized Learning, Front & Center

personalized learning cohort fall 17 4Superintendents and other educators attending the AASA Personalized Learning Summit in Charlotte, N.C. are enjoying a firsthand look at what personalized learning looks like and the positive impact it’s having on students at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

What is Personalized Learning? This is how CMS describes it:

“Personalized Learning In Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools aims to develop the whole child and empower students to take ownership of their learning by providing them with multiple pathways to demonstrate masterly learning in order to be successful and productive 21st century citizens in an ever-changing world.”

personalized learning cohort fall 17 5“Personalized learning is a philosophy of best practices put together really being the students where they are in their learning journey and also making sure students have ownership in that learning journey,” said Jill Thompson, director, personalized learning, CMS. “At Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, personalized learning focuses around four cornerstones: the whole child, student ownership, mastery learning, and paces, playlists and pathways.”

On Day No 2 of the Summit, attendees were brought to Smithfield and Hawk Ridge Elementary Schools and saw for themselves how real learning is going on and how personalized learning is working and thriving for the students, faculty and the schools.

personalized learning cohort fall 17 6“This is my calling. As an educational leader, personalized learning has to be happening in schools nationwide,” said Jeff Thake, superintendent, Amboy Community Unit School District #272, Amboy, Ill. “When the students are participating in these sensory activities … they’re able to focus and be much more engaged in what’s happening instructionally in the classroom.”

Here’s what educators saw at these schools: flexible seating arrangements, one-to-one teaching and learning, student-centered and student-driven learning.

“We need to abandon traditional practices of 20th century factory-based classrooms of rows of desks and we really need to dig down deep and determine how each student learns best,” added Thake.

“I think it’s great where personalized learning and other innovations are in action in an authentic way,” said Doug Schuch, superintendent, Bedford County (Va.) Public Schools.

The summit concludes today with a panel discussion and reflection in downtown Charlotte. To join the conversation via Twitter, access #AASAPersonalizedlrng.

AASA is grateful to Education Elements and Modern Teacher for supporting the fall meeting.


Related: Great Learning, Great Teaching at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

For more information about AASA’s Personalized Learning program, visit the AASA website, or contact Mort Sherman at

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