photo via dallasisd.org

photo via dallasisd.org

Earlier this year, we wrote about the many changes underway at Marsh Middle School — now T.C. Marsh Preparatory Academy — including the plan for personalized learning.

With an initial grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the school (along with seven others in Dallas ISD) has spent this year putting together a plan for the new teaching model that can be tailored to each student’s needs.

“It’s the same end goal,” says Marsh principal Nikki Niewinski. “It’s how they get there.”

Now, the Gates Foundation has selected Marsh to receive another grant to actually implement personalized learning for the 2015-16 school year. The grant provides $1,500-$2,000 per student, covering the first year of implementation beginning with sixth grade. The hope is that Marsh will continue to receive support to roll out the program to seventh and eighth grade over the next couple of years, becoming a full personalized learning campus by the 2017-18 school year.

Personalized learning is centered on four elements: flexible learning environments (including a re-imagining of the Marsh’s design and layout), competency-based progression, learner profiles and personal learning paths. While the students take on the same academic rigor, their pacing may be different.

Read more about the teaching model here.

The next steps include developing the staff and teachers around personalized learning. Leading up tot he 2015-16 school year, there will be informational sessions for parents whose children may be entering Marsh that year.


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