Thesis PEER Review Mindset.

Umatilla High School Students Revise Thesis Statements with a Growth Mindset


Students in high school often struggle with feeling like writing failures.  Mrs. Johnson uses a Growth Mindset to turn students onto revision and feedback.  Students in Mrs. Johnson’s World History classroom learn that writing is process and failure only happens when you are not willing to revise.  To help them see that writing isn’t carved in stone, Mr. Johnson has students write their thesis statements on desk tops.  Students go around room and help each other by giving feedback.  As the writer takes in feedback, they can easily erase and rewrite the statements until they feel they have completely communicated their thoughts.  The sense of failure as a writer is lessened while a Growth Mindset is strengthened.


Umatilla High School Students Intern in the Community!


Part of Umatilla High School’s year two goal of PL implementation is to explore how we can offer internships for school credit.  We are proud this year to showcase Aubrie who is interning a local newspaper. Aubrie takes what she learned in UHS’S Digital Design courses into a real world application in advertising and design.   It is fullfilling to see what our students can accomplish when we take time to Personalized Education.  Congratulations to Mr. Barnhart, Digital Design Instructor, for making this happen.


Eustis High School Surveys Students About PL and Keeps Parents in the Loop!


Eustis High School is working to keep parents and students in the loop with Personalized Learning by sharing out a PL Newsletter every couple months. This month’s newsletter focused on results of a student survey examining the experiences students are having with PL.

Click here to download the Feb/Mar PL Newsletter from Eustis High School


Pine Ridge Elementary Student Shares Their Insight into Personalized Learning


Students at PRES reflect on how Personalized Learning has affected them as learners. They speak to various aspects of their learning that are impacted by PL such as being ready to learn, time management, pacing, and teacher support. Students voice their experiences with PL and give insight into how it has helped them take ownership of their learning.

Windy Hill Hosts "Making Learning Personal" Exhibit Night


Windy Hill Middle School will be hosting a ‘Making Learning Personal’ Exhibit Night on January 24th in our cafeteria from 6:00-7:30pm. This event will provide an in-depth and live view into WHMS’ implementation of personalizing instruction. Students, parents, and community members are invited to share in our journey highlighting the ‘WHY,’ ‘HOW,’ and ‘BENEFITS’ of ‘Making Learning Personal (MLP).’ Attendees will be able to utilize common implementation resources to travel through and interact with live sessions, while visiting various sessions that will inform on key elements of MLP.

Attending WHMS students, accompanied by a parent and/or guardian, who complete the Exhibit Night “Must Do’s” and submit their pacing guide will be rewarded with incentive choices provided by departments. Additionally, attendees will have the chance to win door prizes and gain key information about Windy Hill’s implementation journey.

Attending parents, students, and district guests can, prior to the event, join our ‘Exhibit Night’ Schoology course. This course will provide helpful resources and allow attendees to experience a ‘Making Learning Personal’ resource.


Windy Hill Middle School Students can join by adding the course on their Schoology accounts, using course code: BHWDG-K7GPK. Parents can join by, first, creating a Schoology account using a unique access code (email for your student’s code) and then join the course using the course code: BHWDG-K7GPK.  The WHMS website has helpful tutorials and resources for parents to assist in creating an account.


Lost Lake Elementary is Tracking Standards and Growing Their Super Powers!


At Lost Lake Elementary a Transparent Curriculum is turning students into Super Heroes!  In one first grade classroom students are working to track the growth of their superpower: KNOWLEDGE! The pathways have all of the first grade standards on it. Once the students master a standard they put a star with their class number on it.

Pine Ridge Elementary Shares a Teacher's Perspective on PL


Teachers Sunni Meadows who teaches 3rd Grade ELA and Tammy Cripe who teaches a 1st grade ESE inclusive class at PRES reflect on their experience with Personalized Learning and it’s impact on their classrooms. Both teachers provide valuable insight into how PL has impacted them as teachers. They also speak to the impact that PL has had on their students.

Carver Middle School Success Block


As a part of Carver Middle School’s transition to Personalized Learning, Success Block will be implemented this to address two needs identified to improve the learning experiences of Raider students. The first need is to provide in-school opportunities for remediation and academic support. The second need to is provide extracurricular exploratory exposure for students. Each student at Carver has been assigned a mentor who will guide and support the student throughout this school year with academic and personal development experiences. This video captures Carver’s introduction of Success Block to the students in preparation for the launch of Success Block.

Windy Hill's "Howlers"


Windy Hill Middle School is excited to share some positive happenings in our journey of ‘Making Learning Personal.’

One specific item we are specifically eager to share is our campus student-voice cohort known as the ‘Howlers.’ The Howlers are students who act as representatives to the larger school body of students. Howlers have the opportunity to meet with representatives from Windy Hill’s administration team and a Personalized Learning Facilitator to voice the concerns of the collective student body as a means to propose and amend existing school policies and procedures. Last year, this dynamic group of students was responsible for initiating changes that represented the voice of all students at Windy Hill, such as: students having IDs that expedite school functions and lunch lines; flags to hang in the school’s courtyard to indicate our changing ‘black’ and ‘teal’ weeks; and they advocated for the return and use of backpacks on campus. In the 2016-2017 school year, based on their proposals and initiatives, all students have an ID and school lanyard, the flags are in place, and there’s a new policy for the use of backpacks. This has improved the wait in lunch lines and book check-out, considering the IDs have barcodes that can be scanned, as well as increased the safety of students on our campus. Based on their voice, Windy Hill continues to contribute to the culture of ‘one pack’ by valuing student voice and choice.


At the first calendared Howler meeting for this school year on September 16th, students celebrated their successes from the previous year and, based on the meeting agenda, voiced areas of concern for this year. The expressed concerns included: the need for a ‘How to Open Locker’ SOP for struggling students, the option to randomly celebrate a class where all students are properly wearing their ID, and ways to recruit and vet new members to the Howler cohort for the 2016-2017 school year. Windy Hill Middle School is extremely proud of these student representatives and the valuable and constructive voices they bring to our school.

Personalized Learning at Gray Middle School


Dive into Personalized Learning at Gray Middle School with a video produced by their Personalized Learning Facilitator Lynnea Weismann.

Lost Lake Elementary Celebrates Dot Day and Developing a Growth Mindset


In August Lost Lake Elementary celebrated International Dot Day, a day promoting the use of growth mindset. This day is based on the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. The Dot tells the story of a caring teacher who reaches a reluctant student in a remarkably creative way. In Reynolds’ book, the teacher dares a very resistant Vashti to “make her mark.” Vashti’s breakthrough begins with a simple dot on a piece of paper. Families were asked to “make their mark” by creating a dot project at home with their student. Projects were hung in the hallways across campus.

Umatilla High Agriculture Students Learn to Save Lives


Today, Agriculture students at UHS had the opportunity to learn from their peers how to save a life. Students from Health Science showed their knowledge of not only CPR but other areas as well. Students presented the information and demonstrated on CPR mannequins. Next, they provided time for the Ag students to practice the skills presented. Students were teaching each other! See the video below for some moments from the students and teachers.

Lake County Schools Releases Videos on Personalized Learning


With the start of the 2016 – 2017 school year, half of Lake County’s schools are either implementing or exploring Personalized Learning. You can now take a look inside the classrooms in the first PL launch schools right from your desk. The videos are housed throughout our PL page. To the left is the district level video. Under the page for LCS Vision and Goals you can find our animated explainer. Future videos include how PL is being implement at each of our cohort 15 launch schools; Lost Lake Elementary is already posted!

South Lake High Teachers uses Standards Based Learning for Scoring Goals


At South Lake High School, Karen Flynn’s Geometry classes are soaring to new heights with Personalized Learning. Already a teacher offering students voice and choice through various learner pathways, Ms. Flynn has also progressed into Standards Based Progression (a precursor to Competency Based Progression). Each of her class periods have charts where students track their mastery of specific standards. Ms. Flynn has also begun to use this tracking to add gamification to her classroom; using the stars students earn to advance their football towards the end zone as they master concepts and standards.

South Lake High Teacher Merges Blended Learning with Student Choice


In Mr. Deck’s class students are being given new opportunities for voice and choice in World History. Mr. Deck uses his Schoology course to provide students access to four different options for demonstrating their knowledge of the various units they’ll be covering in the second semester.

Visit his webpage for more details!


Personalized Learning Progresses in the FL Legislature


Personalized Learning in Lake County continues to make news in the Orlando Sentinel. The article takes a look at the transition to Personalized Learning at the state levels.

Read the Orlando Sentinel Article here!

Photo Credit:  Windy Hill Middle School language arts teacher Reshonda Scott helps Arianna White in her classroom that has made the switch to a “Personalized Learning” format. Windy Hill Middle School is piloting a competency-based education format for the Lake County School District and the state of Florida. (Rich Pope / Orlando Sentinel)

Competency Works takes a look at Personalized Learning in Lake County!


This past fall Chris Sturgis from Competency Works visited Lake County Schools to take a look at our Personalized Learning initiative at the district level as well as at four of our five pilot schools. Each write up is an extensive review of what is happening at each of the schools as they progress through their implementation.

OS - PL Front Page

Personalized Learning is front page news in Central Florida!


Personalized Learning in Lake County made front page news in the Orlando Sentinel on February 15th. The article and video feature takes a look at the transition to Personalized Learning at the state, district, and school levels.

Read the Orlando Sentinel Article here!

Competency Based Progression makes huge strides in the Florida Legislature!

Official Press Release:

From School-centered to Student-centered

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Pilot will create high-quality opportunities equipping students for the 21st century

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, the Florida Senate Education Pre-K-12 Committee passed Senate Bill 1714, sponsored by Senator Jeff Brandes, which would support pilot programs in selected Florida schools for the implementation of a new education model better designed to meet the individual needs of students. These competency-based education pilot programs would include public schools in Lake and Pinellas Counties and the P.K Yonge Developmental Research School at University of Florida.

In this new model, students advance to higher levels of learning when they demonstrate mastery of concepts and skills regardless of time, place or pace.

“The work that Pinellas and Lake County school districts are doing is transformational,” said Patricia Levesque, executive director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future.“They are building education models that are truly centered on the students. The student learning goal is the same, but by allowing students to progress when they have mastered the material, time is the variable and learning is the constant. This flexible pace and customization to the needs of the individual student is the model we should aspire to for all of our students.”

Florida’s Lake and Pinellas County School Districts as well as the P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School have already begun working on competency-based education projects – Senate Bill 1714 supports pilot programs to address certain policy barriers that could potentially impact the implementation of a competency-based and personalized-learning education system. These programs will allow Florida to see firsthand how such a system would be implemented, and will help identify opportunities and challenges to inform policymakers as they look to implement this statewide in the future.

“A competency-based system liberates educators to design courses, schedules and staffing configurations that best meet their students’ individual needs,” said Kathy Halbig, coordinator of Personalized Learning for Students for Lake County Schools. “Educators are empowered to be innovative and nimble. Free from existing—and often times outdated— policies, teachers can maximize more of the day and even utilize extended learning opportunities. This can free up needed resources for the students who are struggling the most.”


There is a national conversation underway about how the traditional education system is no longer matched to demands of the modern workforce. Florida, Idaho and Ohio are states where strategic activities to implement competency-based education are underway. In Florida, Pinellas County Schools’ “Pathways to Personalized Learning” plan aims to implement personalized learning programs in all of its schools. Its target expands from 1-percent of its students in 2015, beginning with five high schools, to 25-percent by 2020, with 11 high, 8 middle, and 4 elementary schools.

“Competency-based education represents a shift from the current school-centered system to one that is more student-centered,” said Rita Vasquez, director of high school education, Pinellas County Schools. “This new model of learning will look different in a 100-student school in rural Florida versus a 1,000-student high school in a metropolitan area. And that’s alright.”

A companion bill, House Bill 1365, has been filed by Representative Ray Rodrigues. For more information on student-centered policies, visit

PL in the News Across the Nation


Personalized Learning is quickly gaining traction at the front of educational policy and theory. From major world news outlets to titans of tech industry Personalized Learning is starting new discussions and inspiring major changes.

A look at the data inspiring the change: US News and World Report

How Mark Zuckerberg is supporting PL: Business Insider

Images Courtesy of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


Windy Hill Middle Student Panel Talks About Personalized Learning


On December 10th Windy Hill Middle School Hosted the District Personalized Learning “Community of Practice”. The Student Panel, made up of 6th and 8th grade students, answered questions about Personalized Learning.

You could feel the students’ enthusiasm and the passion for this new way of teaching. 8th graders stated that Personalized Learning helps them develop deep connections with each other, their teachers, and other adults. They felt that Personalized Learning allows them to choose their own pathways for learning while still mastering the standards. The 6th graders enjoyed having opportunities for student voice. They liked the idea that their teacher no longer talks at them, but talks with them. They all agreed that taking ownership of your own work was a major responsibility. They felt this new way of learning would help them to continue to develop a growth mindset for life.

With these bright eyed students, and their love for education, why would anyone want to go back to “One size-Fits-all”?

Umatilla High Uses Advisory Hour to Set Goals

Umatilla High School’s advisory hour designed to help students set personal and career goals began in December. Teachers through discussions with students learn that students are more than a lesson.  Many of our students have lives they want to share and goals they want to achieve.  While each Advisory group had a consistent theme of goal setting, no two groups looked the same.  Each teacher put their own unique spin on building a family feel to their Advisory groups.  Mrs. Anschutz’s students took a free survey, 16 Personalities, designed to help them understand why they act and learn the way they do.  While they took the survey, she individually met with each student and talked about their future career goals.  Through their high school career, she is determined to find ways to help them meet those goals.


Lost Lake Elementary Scaffolds Unpacking Standards

At Lost Lake Elementary students across all grade levels are taking ownership of their learning by actively unpacking standards. In one first grade classroom students use an interactive notebook to paste in their standards and mark their Dos and Knows with their teacher. Later, in fourth grade, students begin to unpack more independently. They are still identifying their Dos and Knows, but going a step further to define each element and rewrite their standard in more age appropriate terms.

Sawgrass Bay Elementary Encourages Collaboration

In a fourth grade math class at Sawgrass Bay Elementary School, three boys are collaborating on a math problem using a number of tools common in Personalized Learning classrooms. Sharing a single device the learners watch a video their teacher made illustrating a new math concept. The device is simply a tool in the classroom to facilitate the learning. As they explore the concept they write the problems out on their desktops, collaborating and debating the answer to the problem. Through this simple, yet creative use of resources the learners are both engaged and challenged as they work independent of the teacher.

Arguing for Freedom Learner Pathway

Visit South Lake High School’s Personalized Learning Schoology Group to learn more about how they’re implementing Personalized Learning, resources, and how to’s using the GROUP CODE DG29Z-V7GZG

South Lake High School Offers Multiple Pathways

One of the “pillars” of Personalized Learning is the ability to have multiple pathways for students to engage in learning/mastering content. To the left Natalie Tibbetts developed three ways to student mastery for her unit on Arguing for Freedom. As a part of the ELA team Tanci Spencer and Matt Knight have implemented this exemplary approach giving their students “Voice and Choice”.


Below is another exemplary product of student “Voice and Choice” created by Kim Updike that was implemented during  our Professional Development day at Eagle Camp with our very own staff. Teams were tasked with taking actual Florida Standards and producing multiple pathways for those standards.

Below is an exemplary product from that activity:

Team #5- Lynette Santiago, Mike Boyack, Matthew Knight, Wanda Albert, Jeff Shoobridge, Janie Cates, Trish Kry

Individual Work

  • Tier 1 – Student researches the concept of the timelines and the student is tasked with creating a timeline of their own life, choosing milestone events and moments to develop a meaningful timeline. Students can explore the many uses of timelines across various content areas on
  • Tier 2 – Student is given another student’s timeline they are tasked with developing interview questions and analyzing the student’s life based on their timeline.
  • Tier 3 – Student is able to choose a time period in American History and research timelines. Then events on the timeline will be analyzed using primary and secondary sources in order to determine cause and effect. This will culminate in a written response.




  • Tier 1 – Students research the concept of the timelines and each student is tasked with creating a timeline of their own life, choosing milestone events and moments to develop a meaningful timeline. Students can explore the many uses of timelines across various content areas on
  • Tier 2 – Students trade timelines they are tasked with developing interview questions and analyzing the student’s life based on their timeline.
  • Tier 3 – Partnered students will create a poster of a cause and effect thinking map to show understanding of the events on their chosen timeline interact and effect each other.

Small Groups

  • Tier 1 – Students research the concept of the timelines and each student is tasked with creating a timeline of their own life, choosing milestone events and moments to develop a meaningful timeline. Students can explore the many uses of timelines across various content areas on
  • Tier 2 – Students trade timelines they are tasked with developing interview questions and analyzing the student’s life based on their timeline.
  • Tier 3 – Students work in groups to create a living timeline where each group member is representing a specific event in the timeline. This “living timeline” will be performed in front of the class. Students can explore the many uses of timelines across various content areas on

Windy Hill Middle School Scans Their Way into Content

Within Windy Hill Middle’s Personalized Learning classrooms, they are encouraging students to use their own devices as part of their Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiative  to enhance learning. Using QR codes teachers are able to make materials more easily accessible to students. Students can scan the QR code to reveal course content or even a task to help them show evidence of their mastery. They enjoy the mystery of what lies behind the black and white squares.

Try a QR Code out yourself! The code to the right links to a Ted Ed lesson for Earth Space Science. Could you live on mars?


Personalized Learning Supported at the National Level

Personalized learning is taking off at the national level. On November 10th the White House announced a designated $375 million to support the redesign of traditional high schools into Next Gen schools.

Read more about it!     EdSurge       White House Press Release

Lost Lake Elementary School: Students are SOARING with Success

Mrs. Beg’s first grade students are working hard at standards mastery.  To celebrate their success, learners earn a badge for each standard mastered.  They personalize their badge and then attach it to their individual superhero cape.  Logan said he feels proud and happy wearing his cape because he knows how hard to worked to meet the standards.

1st grade superhero cape

South Lake High School: Personalized Learning through Project Based Learning

AT SLH, Mr. Andrew Raber’s Environmental Science classes were working on a project where they become the CEOs of a company and trained their staff (the class) to work for their company under certain environmental, ethical and economic conditions.  One group of scholars took their Project Based Learning to the next level.  They designed an actual website with incredible detail.  They all dressed professionally and made employee ID badges. They made a model of a wind turbine, which is what their company produces and sells. Their presentation was so detailed that it lasted nearly 20 minutes.  They even added the ability for students to leave comments and feedback on the website they built and encouraged students to use technology to give them feedback about their project.  Their classmates were incredibly engaged and their fellow scholars had tons of questions at the end.

Umatilla High School: Transitioning to Inspiration Stations

Umatilla High School changed from traditional Faculty meetings to Inspiration Stations. Each month features three stations teachers attend. One station included is the teacher spotlight rotation.  Here teachers learn best practices and get help from each other for Personalized Learning implementation.  This month the Social Studies department spotlighted the successful implementation of a cell phone Standard Operating Procedure.


Sawgrass Bay Elementary: Building an Environment of Shared Leadership

Students at Sawgrass Bay Elementary are building an environment of shared leadership through immersing themselves in a learner centered culture where their learning goals are transparent and measureable. Students have choice in how they progress through their learning pathways and monitor their progress towards demonstrating mastery of content one academic step at a time.


South Lake High School: Personalized Learning in the 9th Grade Ignition Academy

How does this look in the classrooms now?

ENGLISH: In the English classes there is a wide variety of nuanced skills that are addressed on a daily basis. The skill levels of our students are equally as varied. We are determined to use this to our advantage by providing opportunities for students to develop specific personal goals for each of our focus standards as we move forward. These personal goals will be used to begin helping students to self-identify where there are gaps in their knowledge. The first true personalized door that we are opening for students is in our independent reading assignments. With these assignments, students will be selecting a text of their choice. Once a text has been chosen, the students will design an assignment to demonstrate their understanding and analysis of the text. Students will also be responsible for setting their own due dates. The student-designed assignments and due dates will be composed in a proposal that will be reviewed in a 1 on 1 student/teacher conference. With these opportunities we are testing the waters of the personalized learning philosophy, while continuing daily to develop student engagement in the classroom by adding smaller personalized elements in our classroom activities.

GEOMETRY: Initially the goal is to offer three types of learning opportunities. One will be mostly self-paced, relying heavily on computer based resources. Students will receive feedback on his or her progress from the program and will be monitored periodically by the teacher. A second option will be project based learning. This is a chance for the student to learn the material by completing a set of required tasks culminating into a final project. Throughout the project there will be check points, where they must check-in with the instructor. In both the first and second option, the teacher will be available when the student needs assistance. In neither option will the student be on his or her own, nor will either option reduce our student to teacher interaction.

The third option will be a more traditional approach. This will be the teacher leading students through problems, demonstrating problems, students practicing problems with constant and continual feedback. All three options will be assessed equally and within the same time line.

At the beginning of each unit, the teacher will outline each choice for the students. They must choose which option they will complete. Once they have made a choice, they are expected to complete all the work required for that unit. If they choose to switch options during the unit work, they must complete all the work for newly chosen work. Meaning, they cannot do half of one option and half of another. Because each option with have different assignments, each student will receive an overall classwork unit grade. Depending on the nature of the assignments, they will be graded as the unit progresses or on a rubric upon completion.