News + Ideas

Live From Summit 2017: How to Personalize Learning with Rigor and High Expectations

This thought-provoking session was moderated by Bethany Gross, a senior research analyst and research director at the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE). Joining her as panelists were charter school founders Erin Mote of Brooklyn Lab Charter School, Oliver Sicat of Ednovate and Kyle Smitley of Detroit Achievement Academy, and Assistant Superintendent, April Madden of Henry County Schools. The session explored the ways in which the four education leaders are implementing personalized learning programs in their schools and how rigor and high expectations are the cornerstones of their programs.


“Personalized learning and rigor are not mutually exclusive. They can be done at the same time.” – Erin Mote


“When we talk about equity, when we talk about equality, we have to talk about rigor.” – Erin Mote


“To think about every individual student and understand what they need takes time. Every ten weeks we give our teachers two weeks off to do this work.” – Oliver Sicat


Kyle Smitley shared that standards mastery can be rigorous when more is required of students. For students to own their learning. Her expectation for her students: they have a deep understanding of each standard, be able to show competency in varied ways, and understand what it took for them to master the standard – and how their path to mastery is different from their classmates. The panel ended with two calls-to-action when implementing personalized learning models. The first pressed for intentionality, including preparing teachers and students for implementation and providing the core tools needed: curriculum, technology, and learner profiles. The second call-to-action, vigilance, highlighted the importance of constant checks and reflections on progress.


This invigorating discussion sparks the idea for a session on Personalized Learning Platforms: Tracking and Measuring Student Outcomes of the Whole Child for next year’s Summit.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>