Newsletter – Summer 2012
Mass Customized Learning (MCL) in WMEC Districts
“Meeting the individual learning needs of every learner, every hour, of every day although espoused by educators, has only been a dream …an impossible dream for educators facing student – teacher ratios of 25-1. But alas, it is a reality – a reality that is hiding in plain sight.” This quote set the stage for the work that 150 educators from the 11 WMEC districts and the University of Maine at Farmington started on June 28th and 29th at a kick off conference. Committed to a new vision, articulated in the book Inevitable; Mass Customizing Learning, customized technologies and the powerful mission of educators to personalize learning are married so everyone wins.
Teachers, administrators, specialists, school board members and staff from UMF spent the first two days of a 4 day series with Bea McGarvey, co author of Inevitable, beginning to look at educational mindset, structures and the delivery of a balanced educational system. In October district teams will spend time learning about how to think about grading and assessment systems. During the last regional day in December, the focus of the large group work will be on Instruction and planning for the future.
In addition to this in-depth regional training series, WMEC member districts will also be able to work with a Systems Change Partner throughout the year on their individual district needs and foci. These districts have clearly launched this major systems change effort and are committed to working together for 3-5 years.
Funds to support this effort have were acquired through support from Kyes Insurance, Franklin Savings Community Development, The Betterment Foundation, SCHOLASTIC Inc, Special Education Outreach Consortium/UMF Affiliated and various local funds.
There is no doubt that MCL is a powerful vision and motivating initiative. One evaluation item stated “Participation will make a difference in my district/school/classroom.” On a scale of 1 low to 5 high, 93% of the participants gave the statement a 4 or 5! Sample evaluation comments include:
- WOW! How motivating – Let’s Go!! (School Board Member)
- This conference made me go home and think and talk it over most of the night with my husband. I didn’t think I was ever going to bed – I was so excited. (Teacher)
- It is important to know/see/hear that other districts are receiving the same information and are heading in the same direction – Comfort and power in numbers. (Teacher)
- Great reminders about what matters – excellent connections – outstanding presenter. (UMF staff)
- I have been to RISC Training and Lead4Change recently … I was on board but not inspired to a great degree until today! (Administrator)
WMEC K-5 Summer Math Academies
The North Dining Hall at the University of Maine at Farmington was host to educators from 10 WMEC districts committed to learning more about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Math, increasing their knowledge of the areas of mathematics, trying sample lessons, gathering resources and looking at student work to determine where student misconceptions exist.
The seven days of training, funded by the Western Maine Math and Science Consortium Grant, was designed and delivered by six teacher leaders from across the region. Jen Robetaille and Marilyn Curtis from Lisbon, Sarah Thompson from RSU 10, Angela Lake from RSU 73 and Sarah Caban from RSU 38 worked for a year to plan and deliver the two part series. Part I was for first time attendees and ran for 4 days. Part II provided a deeper learning experience for teachers who attended the Academy last year and wanted to build on what they had learned and to enhance their leadership skills.
Evaluation data clearly indicates that the participants enjoyed the hands on experience and felt that their new knowledge and skills were going to make a significant difference in their classrooms. Every teacher also developed an action plan focused on how they are going to change their practice and share what they learned with others in their school/district. A follow up networking session will be held October 30th where participants will be invited to share an example of how they used something they learned during the Academy and how it connect to the Mathematical Practices of the CCSS.
Conversations are now focused on what is the most efficient and effective way to move forward. A major component on the table is the possibility of doing another Academy in the summer of 2013 focused on: K-12 Mathematics in a Mass Customized Learning World. Regardless of the focus – WMEC is committed to doing additional work in the area of Mathematics in the coming year. Stay tuned for decisions and details.