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Home News & Events 250+ U.S. educators, leaders gather in Arizona to accelerate adoption of personalized, competency-based learning

250+ U.S. Educators, Leaders Gather in Arizona to Accelerate Adoption of Personalized, Competency-Based Learning

Posted on January 12, 2024 • Categories: Story, The Arizona We Want in Action

More than 250 educators from across Arizona and the country gathered on January 8-9, 2024, at Rio Rico High School, 590 Camino Lito Galindo, Rio Rico, AZ, in an effort to scale and spread personalized learning practices.

The two-day event, hosted by the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District No. 35 in partnership with Center for the Future of Arizona and KnowledgeWorks, offered educators, administrators, and stakeholders an immersive learning experience.

Attendees explored personalized learning strategies and heard first-hand accounts of implementation successes and challenges from representatives of the SCV35 school district, a pioneering hub of educational innovation.

“By sharing, we not only spread the power of this transformative approach but cultivate a community— where we can share collective wisdom and resources.”

“Knowledge doesn't shine its brightest when it's held in isolation. It's in the sharing of our real-world applications, experiences, and challenges that we can really ignite innovation and forge a path for others across the state,” said Stephen Schadler, Assistant Superintendent, Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District No. 35. “By sharing, we not only spread the power of this transformative approach but cultivate a community— where we can share collective wisdom and resources.”

The Power of PCBL: Student-centered approaches to learning, like personalized, competency-based learning, are changing the game. It moves us away from a one-size-fits-all approach, aligning education more closely with each student's individual journey toward success.

The event boasted a distinguished lineup of speakers at the forefront of educational innovation, including renowned educator and author Steve Bollar, motivational speaker and life coach Thomas Valles, and two teaching and learning instructional strategists from the national education nonprofit KnowledgeWorks.

The institute covered a wide range of topics to equip attendees with actionable insights and strategies, ranging from creating a shared vision to how we rethink assessment and accountability to align with a competency-based approach to education.

“True transformation begins when innovation can meet the intricacies of the local community,” Robin Kanaan, Director of Teaching and Learning at KnowledgeWorks, said. “This event represented an incredible opportunity for transformative dialogue about how we can collectively reshape the future of education in this country.”

Why This Matters for Arizona: This Institute is more than just an educational event; it's a pivotal step in shaping a future where every student in Arizona can thrive in a learning environment tailored to their unique needs and potential. It's about creating a system that's adaptable, inclusive, and forward-thinking.

Peter Boyle, Senior Director of Education at Center for the Future of Arizona, hopes the institute will be a launching pad for scaling learner-centered practices in the state and beyond.

“By bringing together experts, practitioners, and enthusiasts, the institute is one of many strategies we are pursuing here in Arizona to accelerate the adoption of personalized, competency-based learning practices,” Boyle said.

Building the Arizona We Want: As part of CFA’s Arizona Personalized Learning Network, SCV35 is not just reimagining education; they're actively creating it. This event has set a new benchmark for what learning can and should look like in our state.

Let's continue to collaborate, innovate, and inspire as we work towards an education system that empowers every student in Arizona. Learn more about personalized learning.