We have designed our school’s educational program around “personalized learning” concepts. Personalized learning is an approach to instruction that is centered on the student. It taps into a student’s needs, strengths, and interests to engage students and to provide a “best fit” education for each student. The instruction is tailored to the individual needs of the student, and students learn in a way that best meets their learning style.
Smith's personalized learning program features four distinguishing characteristics:
1. Learner Profile is a summary of the student’s academic history, strengths, interests, social-emotional needs, and how he learns best. It is developed with the student and the parents in order to let the school know how to provide a tailored education that meets the individual student’s needs and goals.
2. Student Learning Plan is the individualized, academic plan that will enable the student to reach academic proficiency and meet his other learning goals. It outlines the part of a student’s curriculum that will be taught directly and the activities and lessons that will be customized for the student.
3. Flexible Learning Environment allows students to have a more tailored schedule and allows the teacher to use multiple strategies to differentiate instruction. Students may receive some instruction in a large group (25 students) or work in a small group, with a partner, or by himself. With the help of technology, and because the doors of the school will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., students may also learn before school, after school, or at home.
4. Competency-Based Education allows students to learn at their own pace. If a student has already mastered an objective or standard, they can move on to accelerated objectives or to a topic related to their other learning goals. If a student is struggling with a particular concept, she can take more time and received more individualized or small group instruction.
Smith’s teachers and staff will meet with every parent or guardian and her student to review the student’s academic history, strengths, interests, and other needs. This “learner profile” will assist the teachers in developing an individualized Student Learning Plan. In this way we can tailor the student’s education to his or her needs and increase the student’s ownership over their learning.