Most of us enjoy being in control of our own daily schedules but it’s not usually an option for middle school students in KELOLAND. However, at Harrisburg South, kids signed up for personalized learning are free to decide what classes they want to focus on each day.
These 71 students are masters of their own educational fate.
“I like it a lot actually because then I can truly get what’s best for me out of my learning,” Sixth-grader Tait Hermanson said.
Hermanson says picking and choosing his offerings or classes every day forces him to manage his time and take ownership of his progress.
Matt Holsen: It’s like life though?
Tait Hermanson: It’s like life. We’re learning our lessons ahead of time. So when we’re in the real world, we’re ready and it helps.
Allie Long is in charge of English Language Arts. She’s known as a facilitator instead of a teacher.
“They still get grades. They still have things they need to do outside of class, homework. They still have to learn how to read, write, math, everything. It’s all the same stuff,” Long said.
It’s just not delivered in the typical teacher-led forum. Facilitators offer learning materials every day, students choose on an iPad what they want to spend the most time on that day.
“That’s the big key thing. Holding them accountable, taking responsible risks, managing their impulses,” Long said.
“And if you were ahead of pace in math, others might not be at that point, so you can schedule what you need and not what others need,” Paez said.
Learner Taylor Paez is on board with the idea.
“It’s kind of easier because some people like to stay back a little bit and focus on one topic and some learners like to go faster with their learning,” Paez said.
“They’re really creative. They have a lot of tools that they can bring. I learn from them every day as well. Instead of it being always me giving them the information. If we can do it together, we can be a lot more successful,” Long said.
Empowering students to get an education that’s more personal.
Personalized learning has been going on for three years at Harrisburg South and administrators say it’s growing. A similar program is now in its first year at Harrisburg North. The programs are optional for students and their parents.