It’s an exciting and challenging time for educators all over the world as we prepare our students for a future that will require competencies unfamiliar to earlier generations. Recognizing the need to reimagine our schools, Maine recently
passed legislation requiring that beginning in 2018,
high school diplomas must be awarded on the basis
of student proficiency. No longer will “seat time” be
a passport to graduation.
Under the new legislation, schools must offer
students multiple pathways and opportunities
to demonstrate learning proficiency, including
teacher-designed or student-designed assessments,
portfolios, performances, exhibitions, projects, and
community service. To reach this goal, all Maine
school districts will need to explore personalized—
also known as customized—student learning.
Fortunately, the work is already well underway.
In fall 2010, a small group of educators in Maine
challenged the status quo and dedicated themselves
and their school communities to transformational
change. The following spring, the group officially
formed the Maine Cohort for Customized Learning
to help districts work together and share financial
resources for professional training in the areas of
leadership, curriculum design, instruction, and
assessment for personalized learning. My K– 12
school district, RSU #57 in southern Maine, was
one of the original members of this cohort. Since
the effort began, our teachers, support staff, and
Putting students in charge of
their own learning is the best way
to prepare them for the future.