Piedmont City Schools Implements Blended Learning Program
Piedmont City School District in
Alabama has implemented a blended learning program at its middle school in an
effort to provide students with mastery-based personalized learning.
In 2009, the district implemented a 1-to-1 laptop initiative for its students
in grades 4-12. When the district realized that many students
didn't have access to the Internet at home, the district superintendent, Matt
Akin, received a grant to implement city-wide wireless Internet access. With the
1-to-1 laptop program and city-wide Internet in place, the district took the
next step of implementing personalized learning to allow the students to work
through the school curriculum at their own pace based on their mastery of
The district received a grant from Next
Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) to plan for the implementation of a
personalized learning program. During the 2013-14 school year, the district
worked with Education Elements, an
organization that consults with districts to design and implement personalized
learning. The district and Education Elements spent the year designing the
program, training teachers and selecting digital learning content. In August
2014, the program went live with the help of an NGLC Breakthrough grant to
implement the personalized learning program over the next three years.
Since the beginning of this school year, students at Piedmont Middle School have been working through the curriculum at their own pace. The school plans to
continue refining the personalized learning program to achieve a true
mastery-based learning model and to incorporate new opportunities for students
into the class schedule.
According to information from Education Elements, the students' scores on the
Fall to Winter NWEA (Northwest Evaluation
Association) assessments have shown improvement. "In every grade level in
reading students grew at least 50 percent more than the national norm
expectations for growth," stated a news release from the company. The company
also reported that sixth grade math scores increased 30 percent more than
Piedmont City School District serves 1,200 students at one elementary, one
middle and one high school in rural Alabama.
Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].