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Quality Design Principle #1: Purpose-Driven

“Our community told us they wanted their children to be lifelong learners. We had to ask ourselves, what are we doing in our classrooms to help them be lifelong learners? What structures and supports do our teachers need to help develop lifelong learners? It came down to needing to have an active learning environment…… Read More

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Quality Design Principle #2: Commit to Equity

“We aren’t just trying to close the achievement gap. That’s using a deficit model. When we started designing the school, we wanted to have a place where students discover the things that make them special. In this way, we are recognizing students as assets and affirming their creativity and intelligence…something that a lot of schools fail to do.”

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Quality Design Principle #3: Nurture a Culture of Learning and Inclusivity

“Kids don’t say, ‘I’m so stoked to make this standard today.’ They come to school because people care, there is meaningful and relevant curriculum and clear learning targets. We need to offer great teachers and engaging curriculum. For students below grade level, we have to get to know them really,….. Read More

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Quality Design Principle #5: Cultivate Empowering and Distributed Leadership

“I’m asking teachers to allow students to drive their learning. That means I need to allow teachers to drive the policy, the culture, and the decision-making.”

– Juan Carlos Ocón, Principal, Benito Juarez Community Academy, Chicago Public Schools, IL, 2017

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Distributed leadership and a culture of empowerment enables schools to create the flexibility to personalize learning,….. Read More

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Quality Design Principle #6: Base School Design and Pedagogy on Learning Sciences

“One of the biggest changes is from assuming that the stand and deliver approach to learning in which teachers deliver curriculum and students are expected to just give it back on tests actually works. We are inching along in our understanding that scholars have to be active learners and that we need to build on what they already know…… Read More

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Quality Design Principle #7: Activate Student Agency and Ownership

“In the beginning it was hard. There were projects rather than textbooks. But then I realized I was learning a lot of things. I learned to manage my time and resources. I set goals now and plan my day. I’ve learned to self-regulate myself. I even plan to give myself free time every day.”

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Quality Design Principle #8: Design for the Development of Rigorous Higher-Level Skills

“What is honors? We realized that it wasn’t more work, or faster. It was deeper learning, something all students should have access to.”

– Jennifer Gay, Personalized Learning Project Manager, Luella High School, Henry County School District, GA, 2016

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Competency-based education supports students to not only learn academic content,….. Read More

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Quality Design Principle #9: Ensure Responsiveness

“We don’t blink if you are at the second grade level when you are in the fourth grade. If teachers really understand the standards and the progressions that are needed to help students move, then we can bridge the gaps. We don’t pretend anymore that students can do higher level work if they don’t have the prerequisites…… Read More

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Quality Design Principle #10: Seek Intentionality and Alignment

“One of the biggest benefits of mastery-based learning is the clarity for teachers. We have had so many good conversations with teachers about what they are teaching, what they want students to be able to know and be able to do, and why they are teaching it…… Read More

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