Bringing Personalized Learning to Fuchs Mizrachi
At the start of this past school year, we introduced Personalized Learning through Summit Learning to our 6th grade. While our educational leadership and sixth grade teacher team had a strong shared understanding of how Summit would enhance teaching and learning at Mizrachi, many parents and other stakeholders questioned our decision. In an effort to follow Simon Sinek and “Start with the Why”, the following presentation was given to the school’s Board of Trustees. For those in Jewish Day Schools unfamiliar with Summit Learning and the powerful system, tools and support it offers, this short presentation may serve as a good starting point. Our goal was to dispel common misconceptions and highlight three major components that drew us to Summit:
- We wanted a systematic, holistic approach to school design that enable teaching and learning to be more focused, transparent and consistent between subjects and across grades. We had great teachers facilitating meaningful teaching and learning individually but there was no clear framework and shared language to bring the work together.
- We believe that such an approach would help students not only build skills but also the mindsets of independent, self directed learners. We wanted to be sure that students learning about themselves as learners, have the opportunities to set goals for themselves and reflect on their progress in a personalized way.
- We wanted resources for well designed, scaffolded and standard aligned projects and content with the ability to customize, refine and design based on our school’s unique needs (for example, eventually building Judaic courses).
November Board Presentation
Three months after this initial conversation we have learned so much for our students and parents as we continue to work to improve our implementation. Besides many specific lessons learned that I hope to outline in a future blog, there are two major ways we would altered our messaging from that presentation:
- We would have spent more time highlighting that we are not becoming “a Summit School”- adopting a package of curriculum and tech developed for a charter school network in the San Francisco area. Instead, we are utilizing the powerful resources and support for teachers that Summit Learning provides to build a unique program designed by our talented educational team for our unique body of students. It seemed obvious to us that this was what “Personalized Learning” required from any school- but this was not as clear to parents who were worried that program was intended to make teaching “easier” or, even worse, “outsource” learning to technology.
- We would have emphasized the primacy of the projects and cognitive skills in this educational model- giving more concrete examples of the type of work students will be engaged in on a daily basis separate from the tech platform. This might have helped our community better appreciate how Summit was helping us take what we were already doing to the next level instead of viewing it as a revolutionary change they were not expecting.
Future Blog Posts
In future blog posts, I hope to provide a virtual tour of the Summit Learning Platform to give viewers a more concrete understanding of the power curriculum, tech platform, rubrics and educator tools provided. In addition, I hope to share an inital vision and some questions about the application of Summit’s design to Judaic studies. Please ask questions and share your thoughts!