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Innovation and Personalized Learning

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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Most recent reform initiatives — from standards and accountability, to vouchers, to charter schools, to teacher evaluation — do little to change the underlying format of public education or of children’s day-to-day experiences in the classroom. Yet achieving dramatically better results for all students — particularly those facing the greatest challenges — will require fundamentally different and more efficient means of delivering education and engaging students.

Increasingly, schools, districts, and other education organizations are experimenting with new models that change how students access content and tailor learning to individual needs. Personalized learning models, for example, are designed to tailor instruction to a student’s skill level and learning style by using different learning modalities, flexible learning environments, and competency-based progression. These and other innovative models employ technology in new ways and change how teachers work with one another and with students.

Bellwether’s work seeks to identify, learn from, and support the growth of personalized learning and other innovative models. We conduct research to analyze the conditions, including public policy changes, that enable high-quality models to scale. Through our grant-funded field-facing publications, we aim to increase public dialogue around reimagining traditional forms of teaching and learning. We also work directly with schools, districts, charter management organizations, and nonprofit organizations seeking to develop, implement, scale, or evaluate innovative programs to improve student results. Our expertise in other education policy areas — including accountability, teacher evaluation, and charter schools — allows us to incorporate an understanding of broader K-12 trends into the advice we provide our clients.

The content below reflects our work on this issue:

Publications

September 22, 2020
Ashley LiBetti, Lynne Graziano, Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
COVID-19 has altered education as we know it, and no one school has found the perfect approach to distance learning. Every school struggles with the...
September 8, 2020
Ashley LiBetti, Jennifer O'Neal Schiess, National Association of Charter School Authorizers
Great charter school authorizers believe in the charter school promise and relentlessly pursue excellence to give every child an educational option...
September 2, 2020
Ashley LiBetti, Juliet Squire, Justin Trinidad, Amy Chen Kulesa, Rebecca Gifford Goldberg
One of the greatest promises of the charter school movement has been the potential to create diverse school models to meet the varied needs of...
August 27, 2020
Kelly Robson, Juliet Squire, Indira Dammu
Over the last 25 years, the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) has invested nearly $5.3 billion into the charter school sector, directing funds...
August 11, 2020
When EightCities.org first launched in 2018, it documented the stories of leaders in school systems across the country working to drive rapid...

Op-Eds

July 6, 2020
The pandemic will decide when schools can reopen. Educators must start building robust online learning systems for next year. We need schools to be...
June 23, 2020
Bart Epstein has seen the education space through a previous role in which he helped build Tutor.com, the world’s largest online tutoring and...
May 19, 2020
Working with stakeholders around the country has made me certain only about uncertainty. The impact of COVID-19 in a few months or a few years seems...