Personalized schools approach personalization from different perspectives. One goal they have in common is commitment to developing the talents and interests of individual students. Here are some illustrative schools. These schools have agreed to be contacted.
The Urban School is an independent high school serving 260 students. Independent thinking is emphasized with all students using lap top computers to access and create information. Technology is viewed by the faculty and staff as a means to enhance a student’s education and not as an end in itself.
The school year is divided into three twelve-week terms with students enrolled in four courses each term. Most classes are 70 minutes in length with one class per week of two hours. A student’s weekly schedule includes time for meeting in groups and individually with their teacher-advisers. The flexible schedule also includes a consultation period for students to meet individually with academic teachers as needed.
A four-year program of service learning is tied to the developmental needs of adolescent students. The city of San Francisco is viewed as a resource rich in primary source material and infinite possibilities for direct experiences. Community placements for all students are fundamental to the school’s mission.
Narrative evaluations for each student in each course are completed every six weeks and mailed home. Grades are used for transcripts and college admissions but are not available to students and parents throughout the school year.
Mary Ward is a co-educational secondary school under the jurisdiction of the Toronto Catholic School District. The school is a member of The Canadian Coalition of Self-Directed Learning (CCSDL) which is dedicated to the personalization of learning.
CCSDL schools believe that learning flourishes in an environment where learners are able to control and direct their own learning
The school emphasizes individualized learning and self-paced progress. Students complete individualized agendas to guide their daily, weekly and monthly activities. Each professional member of the faculty serves as a teacher-adviser to a finite number of
students and assists students in constructing their agendas. Each student’s academic progress is carefully monitored by the teacher-adviser.
As a result of the unique learning environment at Mary Ward, students learn about individual responsibility for learning, the value of time management, the importance of meeting commitments, and the affirmation of the multicultural and multiracial dimension of the school community.
From its inception in 1992, Thomas Haney has implemented a personalized approach to instruction. This 8-12 school of approximately 1,000 students emphasizes student self direction. The grade eight transition program prepares students for a continuous progress, individualized approach to education in grades nine through twelve.
The facility was constructed from specifications that support self-directed learning. Various learning environments facilitate students working alone, in groups, and in close proximity with teacher consultants for specific academic subjects. Thomas Haney is a member of the Canadian Coalition of Self-Directed Learning.
High school students meet with their teacher-advisers each morning and afternoon. The advisers assist students in completing their daily and weekly planners, which provide direction for students as they work individually and in small groups. Learning guides are developed for each area of the curriculum. Students complete the guides at their own pace — within realistic time constraints –completing tests when they are ready to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the objectives contained in the learning guides.
Achievement test results based on academic standards adopted by the provincial government show that students at Thomas Haney do as well as if not better than students of other British Columbia high schools.