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Henry County’s School Redesign Process

Creating consistent structures to help schools implement personalized learning

Overview

Henry County requires all of its schools transitioning to blended and personalized learning to go through a redesign process. One of the biggest challenges the district has faced is a resistance to change, and the goal of having schools participate in the redesign process is to help them think differently about what school should look like for their students – instead of telling schools what learning should look like. This provides schools with a large amount of autonomy over their instructional approach, while also ensuring that the resources the district invests in each school are put to good use. To help strike this balance, Henry County worked with the Mastery Design Collaborative and Inquiry Schools to create a redesign process.

There are two required components of the redesign process. First, each school must give an oral presentation, articulating their mission and vision. This is generally a frequent event as schools provide this information to the district, community, and their own teachers, students, and parents on an ongoing basis. Second, each school must create a strategic plan that details how they will bring about their vision for learning. In order to create these components, the district pushes its schools to think about challenging fundamental questions for their approach, including:

  • What does a student day look like?
  • What do we need to do to help increase student agency?
  • What schedules need to be in place?
  • What do teachers need to make this happen in the classroom?

The redesign process pushes each school’s thinking on how to personalize learning for all of their students. Each school follows a structured sequence to help them answer these questions and refine their approach to personalized learning. A sample timeline for a school in the 2019 Cohort would look like:

  • October 2017 - Submit application.
  • December 2017 - Selected as a Cohort 19 school.
  • Spring 2018 - Research and school visits, as well as conducting small pilots and building the strategic plan.
  • Spring-Fall 2018 - Refine oral presentation and strategic plan (readiness criteria document).
  • December 2018 - Strategic plan gets approved.
  • Spring-Summer 2019 - Prepare for launch, focusing on continued piloting, professional development, and stakeholder engagement.
  • August 2019 - Launch initial elements of strategic plan.
  • 2019-2023 - Continue implement elements of strategic plan until fully implemented (approximately a four year process).