A Case Study Accelerating a Competency Based World

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Creating Professional Networks to Implement Change
Around the country, schools are forming networks to support innovative models to improve student learning. These networks provide a professional Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 2.04.38 PMlearning community that helps schools grapple with how to best implement or improve deeper learning through student centered, competency based and project based learning. Place Network, an initiative of Teton Science Schools, is no exception as a leader in supporting place-based education with core commitment to putting the learner and place at the center. Place Network is focused on implementing a next-generation learning model in rural schools across the nation to build a network deeply committed to connecting learning to local places and reimagining local community. Over the next three to five years, the network will support 50 schools serving 10,000 students. The network is currently accepting applications for the 2019-20 cohort year.


Using a Proven Model

For more than 50 years, Teton Science Schools has educated youth and adults through place-based education. Using a core set of principles such as inquiryScreen Shot 2019-02-12 at 2.09.11 PMand design-thinking, participants show increased engagement and academic outcomes – as well as a stronger commitment to community impact. With increasing demand to replicate the model, TSS launched a national network of place-based schools. Place Network Schools share a common core framework grounded in six place-based principles. Place-based education connects learning and community through economic, cultural, and ecological lenses. Students and teachers use inquiry and design thinking to understand their communities and create solutions based on opportunities and challenges. Student interest and background is valued through learner-centered approaches and traditional disciplines are integrated through interdisciplinary models. The Community is the Classroom as students expand school walls beyond the school, learning how there is a local to global connection.

Place Network Schools use four key learning elements to support these principles. High quality project-based learning provides opportunities for students to collaborate around relevant, impactful, and complex learning experiences. Competency-based assessment links learning goals with learning experiences in meaningful ways so that students progress upon evidence of proficiency rather than just time. To learn core skills in English Language Arts, mathematics, and design/technology, students progress along a personalized path of equal and high expectations at a pace and in a way that maximizes learning. Supporting these tools are the development of Habits of Success, connecting character development, learning habits, and social-emotional learning to develop the human potential needed to thrive in the future.

The Tools to Successfully Transition, Implement and Scale

After considering many competency based platforms to help them accelerate, Place Network Schools selected Novare.  Novare supports learning by providing the backbone to create and share projects connected to competencies and communicate student progress. logoNovare provides opportunities to capture in the moment learning in multiple modes, provide feedback easily and connect proficiency levels to competencies . Notifications keep students, families and teachers informed and on top of learning. Place Network Schools especially appreciate the visual representations of student learning to easily understand where students currently perform and direct their learning. Reports are easily generated with opportunities to add details to share student learning with families. Matching technology with pedagogy accelerates a competency based world and makes learning meaningful and learners engaged.

As Place Network expands, having a common platform will create efficiencies to adopt and implement best practices, share curriculum, as well as further network goals of improving academic outcomes, student engagement and community impact. Novare is proud to support national thought leaders in education.

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