Southwestern Pennsylvania has quietly emerged as an innovative hub within the field of education. From the nationally recognized Remake Learning Network, to the leading edge of learning science research at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, community leaders and educators have access to resources to help with the creative brainstorming necessary to tackle persistent and emerging educational challenges.

While schools are exploring new instructional approaches, personalized learning is gaining traction as an integral component to the broader transformational movement. Recent research conducted by Dr. John F. Pane, Distinguished Chair in Education Innovation and a senior scientist at the RAND Corporation, and his team is encouraging; however, implementation strategies appear to significantly affect the impact on student achievement. It is also evident that there is no simple way to define or implement personalized learning for schools.

With these challenges in mind, a group of districts in southwestern Pennsylvania organically combined their individual efforts to form what is now known as the Pittsburgh Personalized Learning Network. Born out of an informal gathering hosted by Elizabeth Forward School District in March 2017, districts leaders shared their stories and described their efforts and vision for personalized learning. A common theme recognized by Jim Shelton, the President of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, who was also in attendance, was the collaborative spirit of the participants to share and learn from one another instead of competing and operating in silos.

Moving forward, the network will host events to share ideas and updates and all members have agreed to host site visits to highlight and demonstrate their personalized learning strategies. As initiatives across the region progress, the network plans to develop a set of metrics/outcomes that will be used to evaluate the impact of the learning strategies.

Read the full article about personalized learning network by Janeen Peretin at Getting Smart.