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CCE staff and partner reflections on our collaborative work to create schools where learning is engaging and rewarding, and every student is set up for success.

Building Pathways for Personalized, Proficiency-based Learning in Rhode Island

Beginning with the graduating class of 2021, students across Rhode Island will have more choice and voice in demonstrating their mastery of their studies. High schools across the state are evaluating how their existing educational program aligns with Rhode Island’s revised regulations, which place greater emphasis on personalized learning while ensuring students demonstrate proficiency of both applied learning skills and core content. Schools are building out their offerings to create enhanced educational options for students. 

On February 15th, educators from 10 schools in six Rhode Island school districts came together to imagine how students in the class of 2021 and beyond would be able to demonstrate their college and career readiness upon their graduation. Over the course of the next two years, the goal of this initiative, known as the Pathways by Design (PbD) Project, is for each participating school to revise and/or create two pathway programs that lead to a Pathway Endorsement Council Designation for students, and for this cohort of schools to share their work and learning with educators across the state.

A Pathway Endorsement Council Designation is a recognition of a student’s deep learning through a series of courses, learning experiences, and applied learnings related to a student’s passion or topic of interest, and includes demonstration of these skills through the focus of the performance-based diploma assessment (senior project, capstone products, portfolios, etc.).Programming for Pathway Endorsement Council Designations provides students with opportunities to self-direct a customized learning experience, capitalizing on school and community resources for students’ personal interests, post-secondary education, and careers. By 2020, we hope to have developed and piloted Multiple Pathways Programming in all of these schools, providing different models for schools across the state to look toward as they implement Multiple Pathways in their schools. 

Students will be able to choose one or more of the six Pathway Endorsements discipline areas to pursue within career fields, academic subjects, or broad topics of inquiry (e.g., The Arts; Business & Industry; Humanities & World Languages; Public Service; Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM); and Teaching). It is envisioned that the pathway work would allow students to go as deeply as they wish in a particular subject matter by pursuing a number of related learning experiences. CCE staff will be facilitating multiple professional learning opportunities to these schools in support of their efforts (e.g., Design Studios, statewide convenings to share effective practice) By 2020, we hope to have developed and piloted Multiple Pathways Programming in all of these schools, providing different models for schools across the state to look toward as they implement Multiple Pathways in their schools. 

Resources developed through the PbD Project will be made available to other Rhode Island secondary schools by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. Opportunities will also be made available to schools outside of the cohort to participate in professional development events starting in early 2019.

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