Design pillars are used among all RBL sites to identify the essential design elements upon which each site’s student experience is based. The Point Isabel design pillars are: Collaborative Relationships (Teachers & Students; Peer to Peer), Student Agency, Rigor and Relevance, Personalized Pathways, and Data-Driven Instruction (DDI). The vision for these student experiences are aligned, but differentiated across the elementary and junior high level. Because PIJH is following the Summit Learning model, pilot classrooms are structured similarly in the four content areas. In contrast, elementary pilot teachers were provided autonomy to interpret and implement blended strategies in accordance with the district design pillars based on students’ needs and the teachers interpretations of blended learning in action. They took a more incremental approach to classroom transformation.
In both elementary and junior high settings, Collaborative Relationships entail peer collaboration in addition to mentoring from teachers.
Student Agency means students monitoring their own academic progress and setting goals with the help of teacher mentors. For elementary students, Year 1 steps toward agency included students monitoring their own progress on adaptive content, and setting goals and meeting with teachers for weekly mentor sessions. At the junior high school level, students use personalized learning plans to help chart their progress, meet weekly with a teacher mentor to set goals and make plans for meeting them, and take on-demand mastery assessments in the Summit Learning Platform.
Rigor and Relevance aspires to provide intellectually challenging experiences that push students to maintain high academic standards, and that provide relevant and relatable experiences for students to encourage engagement and passion for learning.
Personalized Pathways include teacher-led small groups, direct individual instruction, peer collaboration, adaptive digital content, flipped content, and playlists.
With Data-Driven Instruction (DDI) teachers and school leaders gained confidence in using multiple forms of assessment to guide instruction. At the elementary level, this included MAP, Imagine Math, formative assessments, and other digital content reports. MAP in particular was influential in helping teachers shift their mindsets toward student growth over the course of the year, and in identifying the specific standards with which individuals students needed assistance. For junior high students, data-driven instruction was likewise supported by MAP, along with student progress in the Summit Learning Platform and student mastery of cognitive skills.