Narragansett High School, led by Principal Daniel Warner, is a high performing school located in Narragansett, RI. Principal Warner believes that personalized learning is a key element of growth for Narragansett and that meeting students “where they are” is very important to all teachers.
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At Narragansett High School personalized approaches to learning intersect with competency-based practices as students progress when they demonstrate mastery. Project based learning allows for student choice and engagement in “deep” learning tasks to intersect with students’ interests. Yet while student ownership of learning is a focus, it is also an area in which many Narragansett students have not yet developed the habits of mind to succeed. Shifting the teaching approach to focus on student ownership has required teachers to help students adjust the way they have historically “done school.”
With this focus on adjusting how students “do school,” the Fuse Architect team at Narragansett applied to redesign and implement the systems, supports, and structures for grade 9 students and teachers. Currently, Narragansett faces challenges in scheduling, data systems, and expertise in the most current or applicable technologies for both instruction and data collection. By the end of their Fuse Architect project, the Narragansett team plans to have developed an instructional model that supports a “learning as the constant, time as the variable” philosophy.
Implementing innovative learning models is not new to the staff at Narragansett. The school has been actively working with the Highlander Institute to incorporate a robust blended learning approach through the support of FUSE fellows. They have been leaders in developing student portfolios and senior projects to determine proficiency in graduation standards and have implemented a comprehensive advisory program where all students have an adult who helps them identify their learning goals and needed supports. In addition, Narragansett is a newly joined member of the League of Innovative Schools, an initiative of the Great Schools Partnership and the New England Secondary Schools Consortium to design and implement school wide systems to support a student centered, personalized approach to learning.
On the technology front, the school’s technology team has started to look at different learning platforms and ways to optimize their student information system. Other key education technology initiatives include a 1:1 computer initiative for all students and the use of Google classroom and Google apps for education. Despite these efforts, the staff continues to be limited by the lack of an integrated learning system. At the end of Phase 1, Narragansett continued working outside of the constraints of their system to create a 9th grade schedule that allowed for more teacher collaboration. In addition they are piloting PowerSchool’s Learning Management System as a way to increase personalized and blended learning practices. Principal Warner emphasizes the importance of “visualization” for the 9th graders: “Having our teachers provide kids the road map for voice and choice and then get out of the way and let kids have more control of their own trajectory is paramount. Also important is reflection, but that involves not only reflecting on what you did and how it went, but it also requires reflecting on where do you go now and what are the results you want.” The Narragansett team believes their school is a leader in developing personalized approaches to learning and is prepared to take the next steps on this journey through Fuse Architect.
To learn more about the Fuse Architect project, updates, and partnerships, see all blogs in this series!