Perry Schools welcomes education officials for tour highlighting personalized learning opportunities – Yahoo News

Dec. 8—Perry Schools is bolstering its reputation statewide as a district that places great emphasis on personalized learning opportunities for students.
The district recently invited education officials from other parts of Ohio to attend a tour of Perry Schools that highlighted a variety of personalized learning programs.
Guests on the tour, which took place Nov. 30, included employees from the Ohio Department of Education and KnowledgeWorks. Based in Cincinnati, KnowledgeWorks provides resources to help learning communities transition to personalized learning.
Event activities included observations and interactions involving elementary, middle and high school classrooms, a Perry School District news release stated.
The tour of Perry Schools stemmed from an Ohio Department of Education endeavor to showcase districts across the state of Ohio that are engaged in personalized learning.
"I was thrilled when I heard that Perry Local Schools would be joining us in this initiative," said Teresa Dempsey, assistant director for personalized learning at the Ohio Department of Education. "So I reached out to see if we could bring our cohort of 10 Educational Service Center personalized learning specialists, to tour the district and see it in action."
Personalized learning is designed around making meaning of real-world challenges and curriculum, so students experience learning as relevant, inspiring, collaborative, self-directed and more authentic, the Perry Schools news release stated. When possible, the learning experience is customized for each student according to his or her unique strengths, skills needed, interests and experiences.
The hope is that this kind of learning environment will improve a wide range of student outcomes, including collaboration, engagement, achievement, and well-being.
At Perry Elementary School, tour guests shadowed students within the Perry Ingenuity Institute. The institute is a science, technology, engineering, math and design school within Perry Elementary offering flexible learning opportunities and structures to meet the needs of students.
Authentic learning opportunities are offered to students with the ability to adjust routines and structures based on an individual student's needs. Classrooms consist of a mix of first- through fourth-grade students.
Going through Perry Middle School, guests spoke with students who worked collaboratively as they simulated exchanging various global currencies with one another.
"You could see the relationships and their willingness to support each other," said Deion Jordan, director of teaching and learning at KnowledgeWorks. "It's very apparent that there is very positive culture, that there are very positive relationships that are not just between educator and learner, but also learner and learner."
Parents of elementary and middle school students can choose which learning environment is best for their student, the news release stated. Whether they choose personalized or classical/traditional environments, all classrooms move students forward following the district's best practices for learning, with Ohio curriculum standards.
"Some kids need structure and some kids need experience to motivate them to learn the work and learn the content," said Perry Schools Assistant Superintendent Betty Jo Malchesky. "So I think what we're trying to do is find the best learning environments that we can create for kids and give kids and families options for what's best for them."
For the Perry High School portion of the tour, the group traveled over to the Perry Service Learning center, a building within walking distance of the high school. PSL is an elective for seniors that provides students with opportunities to promote social involvement through education and service.
Each student volunteers at least two hours per week with more than 40 different community partners, including Broadmoor School, Salvation Army, Madison Senior Center, United Way of Lake County and Forbes House.
At the PSL center, tour guests met with students who showed them their food pantry and talked about some of their volunteer experiences.
The day ended with a panel discussion on personalized learning opportunities. Students, teachers, guests, and district administrators all participated.
"What really resonated with me is that we had teachers and students around the table together and they're all learners," Dempsey said. "You could tell that the teachers were taking the students' feedback very seriously, listening with intent and already thinking about how they want to modify things in the future."
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