Elementary Learner Focused

Learning is a Personal Experience

Every child has a right to learn. Every child brings special circumstances to their learning. Every classroom must support the individual learning needs of every child every day with a focus on the development of the learner not the pace of the curriculum.

Why is this Important?

First, high stakes accountability through standardized testing shifted the total school culture toward increasing test scores. Then, the shift from state to core standards increased the grade‐level expectations in reading, math, and writing. As the accountability and volume of content increased, so too did the pace of classroom teaching. School shifted from a learner‐focused environment to a test‐preparation environment. We need to stop racing through content and focus on the developmental learning needs of the child. Every elementary age child must develop necessary academic skills for their future success in high school and beyond.

Key Questions

Does every student and family know the grade‐level outcome targets?

How do I develop resources to excite the student to reach for those goals?

How do I monitor and report student growth clearly to the student and to the family?

How will I monitor what I teach for rigor and relevance to the core curriculum?

Next Steps

  • Kindergarten through sixth grade, needs to revisit and redefine grade‐level outcome expectations as targets, not absolutes.
  • Progress toward outcomes, must be communicated clearly to the student and to the parents as growth, not success or failure.
  • Learning is a personal experience.  Resources and attention need to be focused on inspiring students to engage with the content at a personal level.
  • Evaluate and adjust the learning environment to meet students where they are and challenge them individually with rigorous and relevant tasks toward grade‐level learning targets.