Personalized Learning: Journey Through Year One

How three Imaginarium Schools took the journey from traditional shool models to Personalized Learning Schools. 


Case Study Overview

In this report the Imaginarium highlights the work of three pilot schools during their first year of implementation: 1) Roots Elementary School; 2) Sabin World School; and 3) Denver School of Innovation and Sustainable Design. Studies describe why each school embarked on a journey toward personalization, what they aspired to do, how they approached implementation and continuous improvement, and the successes and challenges they encountered. Individually, each study depicts how one school designed, implemented, and adjusted Personalized Learning in practice, with a focus on the specific elements of the Personalized Learning framework that the school chose to prioritize. Together, they paint a picture of Denver’s overall approach to Personalized Learning. They share insights to help teachers and leaders embark upon Personalized Learning and to assist the district in supporting Personalized Learning. The Imaginarium used qualitative and descriptive methods to study the schools profiled in these case studies. Studies draw data from site observations, interviews with school staff and learners, and study of key artifacts. Additionally, studies draw from the records of the Imaginarium’s ongoing support and presence in piloting schools; Imaginarium staff were in schools on a weekly basis to guide pilot teachers through inquiry and improvement cycles and meet with school leaders about their strategies for managing change. The approach used in these studies is consistent with national research models; for early stage initiatives with small sample sizes, qualitative methods are most appropriate for identifying leading indicators of longer-term outcomes and for developing outcomes models that can be used for formal impact evaluation in subsequent years. As described in the last section of this summary, year one allowed the Imaginarium to develop an impact evaluation model and research agenda that will be used to rigorously assess Personalized Learning outcomes in year two and beyond.