Poke your head into any school around the country and you are likely to see students working in small groups. Why do educators see small group collaboration as a model to facilitate learning?

The school's sights are focused on the future. Tomorrow's world will value critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, intellectual agility, adaptability, entrepreneurship, and effective communication (in every form). Loveland High School teachers and leaders know that traditional teacher-directed classes won't engage students or set them up for success in this fast-evolving world.

Through a visioning process, Trailblazer staff committed to designing experiences that were both interest-based and enriching for all learners.However, we were still missing one piece. Thanks to Maria, we found it.

This edition of Friday Focus: Practitioner's Guide to Next Gen Learning is dedicated to sharing gifts from the network that emerged during the recent NGLC-NGSI convening in Colorado. Sarah Luchs, a K-12 program officer at NGLC, explores seven key insights from convening participants about the work of transforming learning.

Educators often fail to model the lifelong, passionate learning we so desperately try to impart to our students. We simply don't have the time or space to make it happen. At Distinctive Schools, we are committed to deep, relevant, personalized learning for all learners ...including the adults! We strongly believe that to truly instill the value of lifelong learning in our students, we must model this at every level of our organization.

People all over the country, and world, are working on the same education issues. To address them efficiently and effectively, we need to share out, listen, learn, and collaborate. We need to work together to push one another's thinking. At the Boston Public Schools Office of Innovation we are consciously making an effort to break down these silos.

In 2014, a few English teachers at Leadership Public Schools (LPS) found themselves facing a common question: how to give more, and better, feedback on writing in their classrooms? And how to do so in a way that built skills, encouraged growth, and honored their students' needs to be college-ready in just a few years? The answers, it turns out, were the students themselves.

When we opened Thrive Public School in San Diego five years ago, we knew we had the opportunity, and the responsibility, to create an intentionally diverse school. San Diego is one of the most diverse cities in the country. It is the American city with the highest number of refugees and also the fifth wealthiest. By joining a small but powerful movement of intentionally diverse schools, we could affect not only the students in our school but our community as a whole.

Mentorship in middle and high school has the power to impact the course of students' academic and personal life trajectories. One of three foundational pillars of the Summit Learning Program, one-to-one mentorship allows all students a chance to meet with a dedicated teacher or school leader each week as part of their academic and personal development. Students meet with the same mentor year over year, providing them with a sense of continuity and allowing mentors to know students deeply.

One hundred percent of Vista Unified's schools are now engaged in the Vista Unified Personal Learning Challenge. The transformation to Personal Learning at Vista Unified has been guided by the work of pedagogy experts, Allison Zmuda and Bena Kallick. In their book, Students at the Center, they define Personalized Learning as a "progressively student-driven experience where students have a role in co-creating investigations and ideas."


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