Personalized Learning

Open Resources

We are proud to share our work and learning through our Open Resources. This practice embodies our core value of transparency and supports a community of educators in their search for transformative resources and design inspiration.  A few years ago, we created a space on our website to share our Learning What Matters competency [...]

Voter Registration at Building 21 Allentown: An Indicator of Civic Mastery

What does mastery of an academic skill look like? In education, we are constantly endeavoring to find the best ruler by which to measure student growth towards proficiency in fundamental skills. We believe that the best opportunities for authentically assessing the progress of our students occur when we push them to apply their skills [...]

All the KINGS Men: Peer Mentoring at Building 21 Philadelphia

Faced with his students’ needs, young people of color needing supports in school that go beyond academics, Kevin Gold started something - a weekly lunch group for four young men. It was simple; they met for lunch, shared their stories, their challenges. They went deep, talked about being targeted in school, feeling like people [...]

By |2020-04-25T09:53:57-04:00September 24th, 2019|Personalized Learning, Relationships|0 Comments

The Double-Edged Sword of Transparency

One of the challenges we face when trying to innovate in traditional public school systems is the higher level of scrutiny required to immediately prove that what we are doing is actually working and is good for students. Changing from traditional grading structures to competency-based scoring does not itself solve the problems our schools [...]

I miss teaching

Over the past few weeks, both of our lab schools held their celebrations of learning called Mid-year Exhibitions. Celebrations of learning (COL’s) are extremely important experiences for our schools and our students because they give us a chance to pause and spend some time reflecting on our accomplishments and celebrating our students’ learning. For [...]

By |2019-03-16T10:18:15-04:00January 30th, 2019|Personalized Learning, Reflection|0 Comments

Learning through “Challenges”

Career exposure through real-world problem solving and team challenge - that was the concept for “Challenge Week” at Building 21 Philadelphia last Spring. What if we identify real-world Students present their proposal for an outdoor redesign of our school courtyard. problems and challenge teams of students to propose solutions? What if we create [...]

By |2019-03-16T10:22:16-04:00November 21st, 2018|Personalized Learning, Reflection|0 Comments

Building 21: Designing a Network for Competency-Based Education

This post originally appeared at GETTINGSMART on July 8, 2018.  By Chip Linehan Our current system’s narrow definitions of student success value content knowledge over the skills and mindsets needed for students to thrive in today’s rapidly changing world. On the other hand, next-generation graduation requirements that measure and credit a broader and deeper array [...]

To Overcome Poor Schools, Students Need to be Engaged by Karen Pittman

"There is, however, one thing that the twins' teachers, families and communities can do to improve their odds, no matter where they go to school: Make sure they are engaged in learning something important with someone who cares about them." To Overcome Poor Schools, Students Need to be Engaged by Karen Pittman   Early in [...]

By |2019-03-16T10:42:40-04:00March 16th, 2015|Personalized Learning, School Redesign|0 Comments