The implementation of Mass Customized Learning produced many positive results for Deuel Middle School this year.
Deuel was selected to become part of the Bush Foundation Grant through TIE leading the administration to identify areas they thought could have the most success in implementing the customize learning programs.
“Through various meetings with staff, we felt that the middle school teachers were ready to take on the challenge of moving to a customized learning environment,” Middle and High School Principal Eric Bass said.
“We felt that the students in the middle school would be more open to the idea and it would be a good starting point that we could expand from in the coming years.”
All middle school students in the four core classes – English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science and Math – took part in fully customized courses with other middle school teachers encouraged to try to customize as much as possible this year with the expectation to be fully customized in 2017-2018.
“The reaction from the teachers has been very positive,” Bass said. “They feel that they have a better understanding of each one of their students and where they are at in their educational needs.”
“Their willingness to work through issues that may arise has been a big reason the program has had the success we have been able to have.”
Teachers led large and small group instruction throughout the day and met one on one with students more often than in a traditional classroom. The district utilized a learning management system called Schoology as the central hub for all student materials, and the Kairos program, which allows students the flexibility to select which classes they attend on a daily basis and teachers the ability to schedule individual students or groups of students throughout the day.
The district focused on the mastery concept of learning, allowing students to show what they know and move at their own pace in order for students to have a solid grasp of the ideas or concepts before they can take on the next step in the class.
“We have allowed students to have some choice in their scheduling throughout the day in which they can schedule themselves into teachers’ classrooms where they may need extra help in,” Bass said.
“Students really enjoy having the choice and we have seen students take more responsibility for their learning because they have to identify where they need help.”
That responsibility of choice coupled with the parameters of customized learning have Deuel Middle School urging students to start to take more of an interest in their education and become more responsible learners.
“When students have choice in what they get to work on, when they get to work on it, and have more access to teachers, their joy for learning increases,” Bass said.
“We want our students to become curious about the world around them and want them learn about things that interest them and we feel with customized learning we can meet the needs of all of the students in our school.”