50 students sign up for Mass Customized Learning programPilot program starts in fall at middle school.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell School District’s first Mass Customized Learning program will have 50 students when it launches next fall, Mitchell Middle School Principal Berens told the Mitchell Board of Education on Monday.
Friday was the deadline for students to enroll in the new program.
Initial speculation was that the new program might draw up to 100 students, but Berens said he’s OK with a smaller, more manageable number.
“Forty to 50 students is ideal,” Berens told the board.
An application does not ensure acceptance. All applicants must first be screened to determine if MCL is a good fit for them, he said.
Beren said the pilot program is seeking a cross-section of students who are representative of all learners.
“We want students who are creative, hard-working and who are self-starters,” he said. “They don’t have to be ‘A’ and ‘B’ students.”
MCL is a multi-grade program that creates individualized learning programs for students based on state common core curriculum standards in math, science, social studies and English.
Berens said MCL classes will mix sixth, seventh and eighth graders next year, and will be taught by teachers who will receive training in the new teaching philosophy.
The MCL program, he said, moves away from a one-size-fits-all, lecture-based teaching toward a “problem-based” learning system in which students learn by working individually and with other students to solve problems.
MCL will allow students, under teacher guidance, to master skills at their own pace.
Berens said his staff recently visited schools in Maine to determine how they implemented the shift to the new system. MMS is currently developing the curriculum for the first year, he said.
Friday, instructors in the new MCL program will get a special inservice training at the Middle School, Berens said. The program will be taught by instructors from the PAST (Partnering Anthropology with Science and Technology) Foundation of Columbus, Ohio. The nonprofit organization helps schools to introduce STEM programs, that is, learning in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.