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CBE toolkit

10 districts share their invaluable CBE secrets

A new toolkit asks leaders from successful CBE school districts to share their advice and resources.

A new competency-based education (CBE) toolkit offers actionable advice from 10 school districts that shared lessons about their own CBE implementations.

The CBE Toolkit, from Digital Promise and Education Elements, is the culmination of more than a year’s work in the 10 districts and is intended to help other district leaders and teachers at any phase in the CBE implementation journey.

The CBE Toolkit was born out of the League of Innovative Schools, a coalition of forward-thinking district leaders. With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the League launched a toolkit that catalogues the thousands of hours and lessons districts across the country have learned in their individual districts.

(Next page: 6 areas where district leaders share their expert CBE advice)

Lessons are mapped to an implementation framework and the toolkit is freely available to every district in the country through an online portal.

The toolkit includes lessons learned in a variety of areas:

  • Stakeholder outreach and input, including student/family input, school leader/teacher input, district/school board input, and community/business input
  • Curriculum and instruction, including timely differentiated support for students, modular content aligned to learning objectives, collaborative learning experiences for students, and students as self-directed learners
  • Standards and assessment, including flexible assessment schedule, assessment experiences focused on knowledge transfer, defined learning objectives, and defined rubrics for demonstrating understanding
  • Infrastructure and policy, including hardware, software and network investments, district policies for grading, credits and advancement, data and systems to track progress, and state waivers and higher-ed connections
  • Support, staff and scheduling, including professional learning plans mirroring CBE principles, coaching for CBE teaching, curriculum and assessment, staffing models to support CBE, and schedules and calendars designed for CBE
  • A video series with insight and advice from leaders in CBE

“The League of Innovative Schools connects and rallies dynamic leaders of our nation’s school districts in order to advance positive change in public education, and this CBE Toolkit exemplifies this theory in action,” said Karen Cator, CEO and President of Digital Promise. “Digital Promise is proud to work with innovative districts who are willing to share their lessons learned.”

District leaders, teachers or anyone interested in a competency-based implementation can find the lessons learned of ten districts and put them into practice.

“We know from our work that districts making big shifts in their approach to teaching and learning need actionable resources, not theory,” said Amy Jenkins, Chief Operating Officer and a Managing Partner at Education Elements. “The Toolkit provides those resources and will help districts push forward their work around competency-based education.”

The League of Innovative Schools, launched in late 2011, accepts new members through an open application process once per year. Currently, the League includes 87 school districts in 33 states, representing nearly 3.3 million students. The full list of members can be found at

For more information on the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools, visit:

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