How Pinellas County students created personalized learning pathways
After family and community members in Pinellas County Schools expressed concern about not knowing how to help students succeed, high schoolers created a web-based portal in which all K-12 students could obtain additional coursework at any time, and also view their personal and academic data.
“Now, parents can access the Personalized Learning Pathway to offer guidance,” says Connie Kolosey, media, text and digital learning director of the Florida district. “First, however, they need to have a conversation with their child since only students can sign in, which can be an exciting opportunity for further engagement at home.”
“Families absolutely love this pathway,” adds Superintendent Michael Grego. “They use it as a communication starter with teachers and as a tool to be better parents.”
The Personalized Learning Pathway allows students to access high-quality, standards-based lessons at home, during before- and after-school care, at a public library, or via mobile technology. Playlists feature interactive digital lessons that include video- and text-based supports. The dynamic platform is also developmentally appropriate by grade level.
Lakewood High students developed the pathway, working directly with vendors and school staff.
“Since the project was looked at through the lens of students, it became a platform that all students greatly benefit from now,” says Grego. “It was definitely better than hiring contractors.”
Building college readiness
The platform allows elementary school students to access math assessment data and to receive gold and silver badges based on grades and attendance. They can also receive a red badge to indicate that they have not yet mastered a subject.
“The language is gentle, and it’s an effective way to promote good behavior,” says Grego.
In addition to providing more learning opportunities, middle and high school students can use the pathway to see how many credits they have earned and need to graduate, their highest SAT and ACT scores, the number of AP courses they have taken, and NCAA information.
Students who join academic clubs, volunteer for community service or gain work experience can document these and other achievements on designated pages. “Students can later repurpose this information into résumés,” says director Kolosey.
District curriculum designers create and update personalized, standards-based lessons through a vendor platform. So, for example, students struggling with multiplying fractions can log in to the pathway for extra lessons and support. Each standard features playlists of lesson recordings and videos with text-based support.
The Personalized Learning Pathway is connected to other information systems and preexisting educational programs, with all platforms available from a single access point.
“When we engaged our students with this concept, we had no doubt that they would produce something far superior than what we imagined—and they did,” says Superintendent Grego.
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