Lindsay Unified School District – Modeling CBE in Professional Learning
How does your organization define competency-based education?
In Lindsay, the “Performance Based System” is designed to deliver the “ideal learning experience” through a learner-centered, personalized, competency-based delivery model using technology as an accelerator. Learners progress only when they have demonstrated mastery. There is an emphasis on “lifelong learning standards.”
Names: Barry Sommer, Brian Griffin, Amalia Lopez
District: Lindsay Unified School District
Lindsay Unified has transitioned to a more personalized approach to deliver professional learning.
District-wide Professional Learning for Learning Facilitators: Our district has outlined the components of the “Ideal Learning Experience” and our professional learning is focused on identifying the needs of the staff by analyzing district data to deliver strands of professional learning based on the aforementioned data needs. The site administrators also evaluate the individual needs of faculty on their respective learning communities and based on those identified needs the district creates strands of professional learning to increase capacity. Lastly, the Learning Facilitators have the opportunity to self-assess and determine their needs. We take the results of the self-evaluations and create professional learning opportunities to address these needs.
To summarize; the district creates mandatory strands based on data, the site has the opportunity to assign faculty to a particular strand based on observations/data, and lastly the learning facilitators self-reflect and assign themselves to strands that they feel will help them become more masterful in the creation of the “Ideal Learning Experience”. In the strands, presenters make a concentrated effort to use the session for applied learning. The goal is to have Learning Facilitators learn concepts, evidence-based practices, and new pedagogy. After this, they learn to apply it in the same session with take-aways for their own learning environments. Sessions are meant to be collaborative, interactive, and focused on applying the learning to prepare to use it in teaching with learners.
Leadership Professional Learning: The Executive Cabinet delivers personalized coaching to our Site/District leadership. The leaders begin the process by identifying their own needs for development. Based on the self assessment the Executive cabinet will do research and support each leader through the learning process throughout the year. Each coaching session takes place once a month. Part of the coaching is support through real-workplace support. For example, if a leader is seeking growth in having critical conversations, we would observe a specific attempt at a crucial conversation and support the leader in areas of growth and affirmation of the desired demonstrated characteristics.
The Lindsay Unified Strategic Design is the anchor for all of the decisions that are made within the district. When it comes to the development of our staff and goal for continuous improvement, we follow our beliefs and guiding principles as well as aspects of our Personnel Vision, including:
- “Learning Facilitators are models of continuous learning and improvement.”
- “Learning Facilitators are knowledgeable and competent in pedagogy and human development.”
- “Teaching reflects the current research on learning and cognition.”
- “Lindsay staff members are true professionals who reflect deeply upon their work – as individuals and as team members – and continually advance their knowledge and skills within their profession.”
We also wanted to model our belief in providing an ideal learning experience. If our belief in CBE is the direction that we believe we should take our learners then why would it not apply to all of us? We are taking steps to make this a reality. We are modeling what we want practiced.
We have identified very specific needs based off of a regimented data collection cycle. We analyze learner data and, based on this analysis, we deliver professional learning opportunities. We also made the choice to deliver the professional learning opportunities that are needed based on staff’s self-assessments of their specific needs. Our Strategic Design is also a guide for the areas that we need to focus on. We self-assess our progress on toward delivering the Strategic Design with fidelity. The areas in which we need to grow are then brought to the forefront for professional learning.
The feedback from the staff has been overwhelmingly positive. Based on survey data, we have achieved a 90% approval rating from staff. Staff were asked if the professional learning was applicable to their position, engaging and met their personal needs for growth. We collect this data through surveys at the completion of each district professional learning day.
The level of engagement has increased tremendously. This is because we deliver so many more sessions and we have been required to have more district presenters. Our staff experts have really been receptive to presenting the additional sessions. This has also caused an increase in developing the capacity of the presenters.
The format of professional learning has personalized learning for our staff. The personalized learning opportunities rarely assemble all the staff in one physical location which makes it a challenge when an aligned message needs to go out.
Delivering and planning this type of experience does require a tremendous amount of time. The pre-planning of surveys and creations of personalized schedules is labor intensive. We have gone from preparing 3-4 presentations to 15-18 content level specific presentations for one day of professional learning. It is also time intensive to deliver one-on-one coaching to our District Strategic Leadership team.
This toolkit was created through a partnership with Digital Promise and Education Elements.