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Innovating Arizona’s Education Model to Meet the Needs of Individual Students

Recent legislation has supported efforts to advance student-centered learning in Arizona

Posted on July 27, 2022 • Categories: Story, The Arizona We Want in Action

Despite progress in technology and educational research in recent years, most states still rely on a one-size-fits-all public education model. But thanks to the passing of House Bill 2862, which allows schools to move beyond the confines of “seat time” and adopt new models for teaching and learning, Arizona is now a leader in the space of innovative personalized learning approaches.

In Spring of 2021, Governor Ducey signed HB 2862 to support Arizona schools in providing student-centered education through Instructional Time Models (ITMs), which is the time that a school is responsible for a student and the student is required or expected to be actively engaged in a learning activity. Before the law was passed, students needed to be physically present in school for hours to be counted. Under the HB 2862 law, students still receive the required number of instructional hours, but such time can be satisfied through flexible and innovative solutions such as remote instruction, project-based learning, personalized and competency-based learning, or weekend and evening instruction.

Not only does providing flexibility from the traditional one-size-fits-all seat-time requirement empower educators to shape education to better reflect the needs of their students, but it also enables schools to meet the unique needs of all students and families.

Just one year after the passage of HB 2862, over half of Arizona schools and districts have adopted Instructional Time Models - a testament to the support for flexible learning models among educators and governing boards.

Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) proudly contributed to advancing this innovative shift for Arizona education through policy and practice.

After listening to Arizonans and our educational community, CFA, along with A for Arizona, helped shape the policy by providing a policy brief that illuminated the desire for this shift and the flexibilities schools need to meet the needs of each student. Not only did CFA partners express overwhelming support for innovative solutions, but our most recent Gallup Arizona Survey also shows that 75% of Arizonans across the state want to give Arizona schools the flexibility to tailor learning to each child.

This legislation complements CFA’s longstanding and ongoing work with policymakers, public schools, and communities to expand student-centered education models in order to create more excellent and equitable outcomes for all Arizona students. And in 2021 CFA received a $2 million investment from the Office of the Governor to expand these vital efforts.

Learn more about CFA initiatives in this space:

Arizona Personalized Learning Network

The Arizona Personalized Learning Network helps educators, schools, and districts/charter networks to adopt personalized, competency-based learning that puts the success of each child at the center of education. Through AZPLN, more than 150 school leaders and teachers have trained to implement, expand, and sustain personalized, competency-based learning, impacting 85,000+ students across Arizona.

Move On When Ready

Move On When Ready allows schools and educators to re-imagine time, space, and learning structures to support the success of each student. Through the initiative, we have provided 850+ teachers with professional development in student-centered, mastery-based learning, and engaged 50,000+ students in internationally-benchmarked college-readiness Cambridge International curriculum at 20+ middle and high schools across Arizona.

Additionally, CFA provides technical support to schools and districts as they consider ITM adoption. Districts or charter networks interested in learning more about implementing ITM can contact Peter Boyle, Director, Educational Leadership & Innovation, at [email protected].