The district also has several programs tailored to underserved populations. Pathways 2 Promotion, for instance, offers an alternative to expulsion. With support from a teacher and a counselor, students develop a plan to keep them on track for promotion or graduation. They take distance learning classes, receive counseling, and focus on foundational skills like oral and written communication, studying, and test taking. Project Search is for students with special abilities who’ve demonstrated an interest in healthcare. These students do regular schoolwork and participate in internships, gaining significant experience and (if possible) certification.
While Digital Promise and the Learner Variability Project are focused on how technology can impact learning, Vuchic emphasized that their goal is to make sure the edtech supports the teachers, not supplants them. “I think that where you see the most powerful uses [of edtech] is…integration,” said Vuchic. “Where it’s really integrated into the pedagogical approach and the teaching and learning strategies, that’s truly where you see the power and where it supports a broader series of learners.”
About the Presenters
An educator for more than 20 years, Dr. Baron R. Davis is superintendent of Richland School District Two in South Carolina and the first African American to hold this position. Reaffirming that learning is the cornerstone for everything in Richland Two, Dr. Davis spearheaded multiple initiatives aimed at ensuring consistent high-quality teaching and learning in every classroom in every school. He rolled out “Pathways to Premier,” the district’s 2017–2020 strategic plan, in which he presents his vision for partnering with families, staff, and community to make Richland Two the premier school district.
Reared in the public housing system since age two, he knows the struggles associated with poverty. In 2014, Dr. Davis joined the City of Columbia’s “My Brother’s Keeper Initiative,” which empowers boys and young men of color in low-income minority communities to thrive and become productive citizens. He has been a member of the planning committee for the City of Columbia’s Black Male Achievement Conference for three years. He is an inductee of the Columbia Housing Authority’s Wall of Fame.
Patricia Saxler is the head of education at Populace. She is also a research fellow with the Laboratory for the Science of the Individual. Saxler earned her master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in mind, brain, and education in 2007, and her doctorate in human development and Education in 2016. A Montessori teacher prior to graduate studies, her research has focused on the development of self-regulation in early childhood. Working at the intersection of education and cognitive neuroscience, Saxler conducted her research at the Gabrieli Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience at MIT, where she also collaborated with colleagues in investigating self-regulation in relation to early life stress and experiences, dyslexia, and neural development.
Vic Vuchic, chief innovation officer at Digital Promise Global, is a seasoned thought leader in education technology and philanthropy. He received his master of education from Stanford University and is an expert in learning science, innovation, and scaling what works. He has launched game-changing initiatives that have increased access to education and improved learning for tens of millions of learners in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Prior to Digital Promise Global, Vuchic consulted with a number of foundations and organizations on education technology, innovation, and philanthropy. Prior to consulting, he developed strategies and managed over $100 million in technology-focused grants at the Hewlett Foundation to launch and grow the Open Educational Resources movement and create and advance the Deeper Learning strategy.
The importance of jaggedness in personalized learning
About the Host
Barbara Pape is the communications director for the Learner Variability Project at Digital Promise Global. She has 20 years’ experience in strategic communications, writing, and policy analysis, primarily in education. Previously, she served as executive producer of the award-winning Teaching & Learning conference, sponsored by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, where she developed content and oversaw outreach and communications. As a writer, she has written for numerous publications, including Harvard University, the National Education Goals Panel (U.S. Department of Education) and Parents magazine. Pape also served as editor and publisher of the first electronically delivered education newsletter, the Daily Report Card. She earned an EdM at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and launched her career as a middle school language arts teacher.
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This edWeb broadcast was sponsored by Digital Promise. The recording of the edWebinar can be viewed by anyone here.
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