HP Spotlight School Lone Star Middle School creates school-wide powerful learning experiences through the Nampa Personalized Learning initiative.
Part of Nampa School District in Nampa, Idaho, Lone Star Middle School is recognized for its implementation of Nampa Personalized Learning (NPL), a district-wide initiative to create future-focused classrooms and world-ready students.
The goals of Nampa Personalized Learning are to integrate the use of technology for students and teachers, tailor learning goals to meet each student’s unique needs, leverage data for decision-making, and to create deliberate opportunities for students to reflect and own their learning. Lone Star Middle School’s implementation of NPL places teachers and students at the heart of this transformation.
Lone Star Middle School Teachers Lead the Way
Using the district’s vision for NPL as their anchor, the staff and administration at Lone Star Middle School worked together to determine how NPL could be implemented. Drew Williams, the Nampa Personalized Learning Coach at Lone Star Middle School, assembled a committee of 11 teachers of different backgrounds and perspectives called the Vanguard Team, who incorporate research, participate in site visits, and lead school-wide teacher professional development.
“The leadership here at Lone Star has really helped push my leadership in the classroom by encouraging me to experiment with lots of different tools and resources. They’re constantly providing us with support to think of new ways to push our students and to expand the potential of their learning.” – Olivia Pecora, Special Education ELA Teacher
Two NPL initiatives the Vanguard Team shepherds at Lone Star Middle School are the adoption of the HACK Model for Innovative Instruction and the roll-out of 1:1 devices. The HACK model, developed with Northwest Nazarene University, serves as a guide to help teachers shift their practice and allow for more student agency, inquiry, and creativity. The Vanguard Team provided professional development that supported teachers with the new technology and pedagogical practices. To help staff have a sense of ownership of the changes, the Vanguard Team infused the Common Sense Digital Citizenship curriculum into all teachers’ advisory periods, an endeavor that earned Lone Star a Common Sense School Badge. The team also established processes and procedures for classroom device use, such as a universal “traffic light” system and visuals for applications students were using and learning. The Vanguard Team also engaged with parents to help families understand changes and to solicit feedback.
Powerful Learning in Action
“I think what makes Lone Star really unique is that when you talk with students they can give you so many examples of times in their classes when they had choice in how they demonstrated their learning.” – Chad Longley, Administrator of Nampa Personalized Learning, Nampa School District
Visitors to Lone Star Middle school can see how the Vanguard Team’s efforts to implement NPL are making a difference in the classroom. For example, each day, 7th grade teacher Morgan Keena asks her students “How do you want to learn today?” She prepares curated materials in the form of video, audio, text, and other interactive content, with which students create their own playlists of resources.
Teachers also offer students choice in how they present their learning. In Maddie Dew’s 8th grade math class, students demonstrated their knowledge of the Pythagorean theorem by applying it to structures they encounter in their everyday lives. Students created a myriad of projects, from Scratch animations to finding angles in their community skateboard ramp. Similarly, in Tamara Moore’s 6th grade social studies class, a student taught herself video editing software for a class project on Oceana. Tamara notes that the video was of professional quality and the experience helped the student see a new career path for herself.
Lone Star also embraces student-led conferences. In Cindy Snyder’s Special Education class, students lead their own IEP meetings by creating presentations that discuss their goals, their strengths and areas of growth, and other personal and academic topics they choose to share with their parents, teachers, and school administrators.
The Learning Studio at Lone Star Middle School
As part of their recognition as an HP Spotlight School, Lone Star Middle School is receiving a Learning Studio. The Learning Studio is a space outfitted with powerful technology for student-centered making and design. The Lone Star Middle School Learning Studio will include virtual reality (VR) stations, a 3D printer, a green screen and other media production equipment.
“I’m excited for my classes to have opportunities to use more media! Things like green screen technologies and equipment for video production are going to be a really great resource for my photography classes. I can’t wait to have teachers and students come in and use technologies that maybe they’ve never seen or tried before.” – Drew Williams, Nampa Personalized Learning Coach
Stay tuned for 360˚ videos and additional media from Lone Star Middle School’s Learning Studio.