What Can the NGLC Regional Funds Teach Us about Local Strategies for Next Gen Learning?

Over the past few months, my colleague Sarah Luchs has uncovered, broken down, peeled away layers, and thoughtfully analyzed the work of the NGLC Regional Funds for Breakthrough Schools in a blog series that today has been released as a publication, Getting Smart on Regional Next-Gen School Design.  

NGLC teamed up with Getting Smart to produce this resource so we could share what we have observed, witnessed, and supported in partnership with the six Regional Funds sites. NGLC staff members Stefanie Blouin, Dalia Hochman, and Sarah Luchs provide support and expertise to the Regional Funds network. Each site’s lead partners coordinate the effort on the ground in each region and support each other cross-network. School teams in each region design, plan, and implement new models for their schools. In other words, it’s a complex initiative with lots of stakeholders, lots of moving parts, and no playbook on how to make it a success.

The purpose of the Regional Funds is to bring personalized learning to the students in a region through funding and technical support for whole-school designs. The goal is that the students are prepared for and become the creators of their own college, career, and life success.

Each site is going about it differently. This diversity of approach signals the initiative’s commitment to local strategies that honor local communities, an appreciation for human-centered design, and a dedication to personalization that starts with student learning but echoes throughout the educational system to professional learning for educators, district and charter managers, the coordinating partners in each region, and even our NGLC team.

Amidst all of this customization, however, are several lessons that can guide anyone interested in blended, personalized, competency-based learning; new designs for schools; and local ecosystems that can sustain, nurture, and grow next gen learning until that time when there is a next-gen school for every child.

Why is this important? Sarah eloquently puts it this way:

“Every parent wants his or her child to benefit from an excellent education. But the strategies that defined excellence yesterday will likely not generate excellence tomorrow. Our schools have to be more fluid and proactive in meeting the changing needs of society and of the students they serve. That’s a new notion and a different expectation for most schools. Next gen strategies embrace those notions of change; so, these schools are helping to define the ever-rising bar of excellence and preparing students to meet it.”

Download Getting Smart on Regional Next-Gen School Design.

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