Source: Avi Chai Foundation
The AVI CHAI Foundation and BetterLesson have recently agreed to a partnership to support 140 teachers in North American Jewish day schools to develop their capacity to bring blended and personalized learning strategies to their students in the 2016-17 school year.
The expanded partnership follows a successful pilot of PersonalizedPD, BetterLesson’s innovative professional development platform, in the spring of 2016. Forty-three teachers from 15 Jewish day schools across the U.S. and Canada received design coaching and ongoing support throughout the spring semester from BetterLesson’s coaches to develop and use strategies to solve important teaching challenges having to do with increasing student agency, creating opportunities for deeper student collaboration and communication, and fostering students’ creative thinking skills. The partnership is primarily geared towards supporting teachers who have already introduced some blended or personalized learning strategies in their classrooms, but participants need not be advanced blended learning practitioners.
The partnership with BetterLesson seeks to advance The AVI CHAI Foundation’s goal of improving “the quality of day school education by increasing individualized data-based instruction and enabling students to develop skills and ways of thinking needed in the 21st century.” Since 2010, the Foundation has sought to place itself at the forefront of blended learning integration within the Jewish day school network, “working to help day schools get ready and to provide encouragement and assistance through a diverse set of grants.” The partnership with BetterLesson is another opportunity for teachers to receive comprehensive support in applying blended learning strategies in their classrooms.
BetterLesson asserted itself as a leader in the blended and personalized learning space with the launch of its Blended Master Teacher Project. In 2014, the company partnered with The Learning Accelerator to showcase the blended practices of expert teachers nationwide. The free, online content uses videos to demonstrate and explain how each strategy was developed and implemented. BetterLesson’s PersonalizedPD coaches have supported hundreds of teachers across the country to redesign and improve their craft.
PersonalizedPD begins with an in-person 3-day “Design Studio” during which teachers will choose an area of their current blended learning practice that they want to develop further. Then they will collaborate with their BetterLesson coaches to design a plan to implement new blended and personalized learning systems and strategies. Each Design Studio is followed by ongoing virtual coaching by BetterLesson coaches, including bi-weekly meetings and on-demand coach support, as teachers implement their designs throughout the 2016-17 academic year.
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