YCC is one of five state school’s piloting program for personalized learning

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In 2017, lawmakers created and passed the innovative education program.

The bill allowed five schools in the state to pilot a program that creates personalized learning paths for students.

The five districts that are participating in the program include the Northern Cass and Oakes Public School District, New Rockford Sheyenne, West Fargo Schools, and the Youth Correctional Center in Mandan.

Each district focuses on a different aspect of personalized learning.

However, the YCC brings a unique perspective to teaching youth who are in the corrections system.

The YCC serves around 50 students, but will see more 300 each school year.

"Knowing that our students come and go all the time, anywhere Monday through Friday, on weekends. Some of our students have failed out of public schools, for a number of reasons," said Michelle Pfaff, Principal at the YCC.

With the influx of students coming in and out of the school, the program allows for the flexibility of classes the students can enroll in.

"There are assessments that we put every student through when they come to us, so we have a baseline understanding of where they are in math and reading," said Pfaff.

As a part of the pilot program, teachers at the YCC are creating personalized assessments that determine a personalized schedule for incoming students.

"Effectively, they will be able to be getting through courses at a better rate and finishing their high school credits when they need to," said Pfaff.

Whether students spend days or months at the correctional center, educators are focused on making sure they reach high school graduation or receive their G.E.D.

"Any number of days, any number of hours, it’s all going to be based personally on that particular kid," said Pfaff.

In the Northern Cass School District, their working to eliminate grade levels kindergarten through 12th grade.

"Just because you're a certain age, that you're in first grade or you're a senior, were saying that it really should be about what a learner knows and what a learner is capable of doing,” said Cory Steiner, superintendent of the Northern Cass School District.

This five-year pilot program backed by Knowledge Works and the Department of Public Instruction anticipates students to be more prepared for college and career choices through personalized learning.

Pfaff says teachers had their assessments completed and looked over this week.

She hopes they will be utilized by incoming students by the end of the month.