When Irving Park first implemented blended learning we chose a station rotation model in order to increase student choice and student agency.
When we started we worried about flexible learning environments, designing the physical space of the classroom and the time space of the schedule, the mere mention of competency-based progression was enough to give us heart palpitations. Before long, our flexible staffing, schedules, and learning spaces naturally evolved to produce a system where students are evaluated on a mastery basis, rather than a time-bound block. We use our three learning studios to create small group instruction where all 3rd and 4th grade students transition on a personalized schedule to areas that capitalize on their individual learning strengths and address personal skill gaps.
At a meeting we were once asked to change one thing about our personal appearance and then have a partner try to guess it. That one change seemed so important, so difficult; we had to get it right. By the end of the icebreaker we were asked to change six things at once, and the changes came fast and easy. Our journey has been similar. When we started on the path to personalization every change felt hard, uncomfortable, now each step towards personalization feels more natural, more logical, but also more vital. A big reason for that is that we have a strong school culture where everyone understands why we are engaging in the innovation: At Irving Park, we base everything we do on what is best for students and we firmly believe that personalization will lead to the success of every student that walks through our doors.
Changing your model is part of the process. As a team we tried many ideas that didn't work at first and had to meet to reflect, make changes, and try again. Programs are extremely helpful in implementing blended learning and station rotation, but students do not learn from devices alone. Face-to-face time with the teacher is extremely important and vital.
As a team that got creative around the schedule, time, and talent, we can share our experiences and successes. We implemented our blended learning model in 3rd and 4th grade first and are now rolling that model out to the whole school, so strategies for implementation are also something that we feel strongly about.
CICS Irving Park is a premier K-8 urban charter school in Chicago's Irving Park neighborhood and part of the Chicago International Charter School network.
CICS Irving Park prides itself on the highly positive school culture that is fostered by working alongside families and forming decisions based on what's best for each student. The teachers at CICS Irving Park are dedicated and committed; they consistently use data and research-based best practices to deliver high levels of instruction designed to promote student achievement.
Collaboration among staff and families is one of many strengths at CICS Irving Park. The CPS 5Essentials Survey produced an overall rating of "Well Organized" - the highest rating in all areas of school performance - along with "Very Strong" rankings in the following areas: Collaborative Teachers, Involved Families, and Effective Leaders.
CICS Irving Park
60603 United States
In 2013-2014 Illinois used the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) to test students in grades 3 through 8 in reading and math, and in grades 4 and 7 in science. The ISAT is a standards-based test, which means it measures how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Illinois. The goal is for all students to score at or above the state standard. In 2013 the Illinois State Board of Education raised the performance expectations for the ISAT in reading and math. These expectations have been adjusted to better align with the Common Core State Standards, a multi-state initiative that established year-by-year guidelines outlining the grade-specific skills and content students need to stay on the path to college and career readiness. The higher expectations of the new standards will result in a downward shift of where students rank in meeting or exceeding standards.
In 2013-2014 Illinois used the Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE) to test students in grade 11 in reading, math and science. The PSAE is a standards-based test, which means it measures how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Illinois. The goal is for all students to score at or above the state standard.
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is the state assessment and accountability measure for Illinois students enrolled in a public school district. PARCC assesses the New Illinois Learning Standards Incorporating the Common Core and will be administered to students in English Language Arts and mathematics.