Personalized learning

BISMARCK, N.D. - Williston schools have seen dramatic growth in student population as more people make Williams County their home, but that isn't the only big change.

District 1 Superintendent, Dr. Jeff Thake, has been on the job since July and has slowly been rolling out his vision for personalized learning. He says the goal of personalized learning is to have the curriculum fit the student, not the other way around.

Dr. Thake says he has visited other school districts and says the landscape of education in the United States is changing.

District 1 is one of the fastest growing districts in the state and Thake says personalized learning will allow students to explore their interests and strengths through real world opportunities.

"Twenty-first Century Skills, 21st century learning. I have a very strong foundation of what that is and what that means. Eventually it won't be me telling the stories of the successes of Williston Public School District 1, it's not even going to be our principals or teachers. It is going to be our students. There is nothing more powerful than listening students reflect and talk about their learning," said Thake.

Thake highlights that students learn better at their own pace and says the days of "No Child Left Behind" are over. He says personalized learning has proven to be effective and that the sky is the limit for student success.

"We want to be in a position where our younger, elementary students, that if they demonstrate mastery of skills in ELA or math, we want to afford them the opportunity to advance grade levels at freewill in those content areas instead of waiting until the next fall," said Thake.

Thake quotes Frank Zappa to describe personalized learning, "Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible."