A Win-Win Experience!

“At RUSD it all starts with a conversation.”

When we were asked to present at the Education Elements Personalized Learning Summit in San Francisco this past May, we were honored to have an opportunity to bring others on this amazing journey and to include them in on this conversation of personalized learning at Riverside Unified. Our students live in a world today in which 21st Century skills are crucial to their success and their ability to contribute globally in a positive manner.

We recognize that, although the four core elements of learner profile, flexible environments, learning plans and competency based advancement are important to create a culture of personalized learning, students also need the skillset and knowledge of how to be a socially engaged contributor. Whether that involves students at the middle school putting on the Young at Heart Senior Citizen’s Prom or kindergarten students tutoring their peers, first graders interacting with the author of their favorite book through Skype or high school students putting on a Super Bowl for their peers in the severely handicapped classes, we have found social engagement to be so important.

We have also learned that personalized learning is a continuous learning process that begins with the learner profile. We believe that every child deserves a personalized learning experience and the learner profile helps us to navigate and achieve this mindset.

Students have an opportunity to share with their teachers and peers their strengths, interests and aspirations among other key components that identifies who they are as individuals. This practice is key in understanding the needs of each and every student with the idea that the end goal is a meaningful education. The one-size-fits-all notion, does not exist and as educators it is key to creating a personalized experience for each student.

Having the opportunity to present at the Ed Elements Summit was not only a chance for us to share our experiences at RUSD, but also an incredible chance to meet with others that are also working diligently to make school meaningful and purposeful for students. Each attendee of the conference had an incredible chance to visit tech companies in the magical city of San Francisco. WOW! What an experience! The idea of seeing “real world” examples of flexible environments in the workplace was inspiring! To witness first-hand companies that are making a difference in the lives of not only their staff members but those beyond was amazing.

One of the incredible takeaways from this experience was to see how important it is for us to understand the importance of preparing our students for the world in which they will enter after their schooling is finished. As educators it is our duty and responsibility to get our students ready for a world that is so different from when many of us were in school. Collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking skills are all necessary to succeed in the world today.

So thank you Ed Elements for bestowing upon us the privilege to share our story as well as giving us an incredible learning experience that we can pay forward!

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Kerri M. Valenzuela, Personalized learning Program Manager, Riverside Unified School District. Kerri is passionate about understanding each student in a way that not only meets their educational needs but supports hem as unique individuals. Most importantly, she is a mother of four very loved children.

Christy Dunn, Personalized Learning Program Manager, Riverside Unified School District. Christy is a leading member in the design, pilot, launch and implementation of Personalized Learning at Hawthorne Elementary School since 2014. Christy is an advocate for innovation in education and improving student learning through reflecting on practice and learning from failures.

Tuesday Ramunni, Personalized Learning Program Manager, Liberty Elementary School. Member of the design team in the implementation of Personalized Learning. Passionate about giving students a voice in their education and creating lifelong learners.

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Access Riverside Unified’s “Old School New School” presentation slides and other resources from the #PLSummit 2016 here


Originally published at www.edelements.com.