By Margie Lopez-Waite, Head of School at Las Américas ASPIRA Academy and Vision Coalition Leadership Team Member

Personalized and competency-based learning empowers educators to tailor instruction for each student—recognizing strengths, interests, needs, and pace, and structuring each student’s experience accordingly.

And, we at Las Americas ASPIRA Academy are excited to be implementing innovative efforts to personalize learning – and we are seeing the results: increased student engagement and excitement about learning, students empowered to move at their own pace, and greater results.

Our educators use a number of programs such as Schoology and a mastery based reporting system to facilitate personalized and competency-based learning as well as to track our students’ literacy growth. We leverage technology to assess and monitor students’ progress and areas for improvement—and to enable learning through a variety of blended learning models including station rotations, playlists, and flipped classrooms.

We are excited about the progress and opportunities ahead. We have successfully integrated competency-based grading in Kindergarten through Grade 5.  After piloting personalized learning in Grade 4, we have phased this approach into Grade 3 through Grade 5. I am confident that the academic skills our students are gaining from these learning approaches will propel them into success—especially as the world and future continues to evolve.

And we are excited that all Delaware institutions of higher education announced last year that they will accept competency-based transcripts.  This enables those of us in K-12 education to strengthen education and build on our successes in earlier grades.

We look forward to working with teacher preparation programs to ensure that educator candidates are being prepared for the schools they will enter—our first year teachers in Delaware tell us they need more support engaging students, integrating technology, and assessing their students’ progress.

Student Success 2025 calls for flexibility and funding to encourage and support schools to provide more personalized learning experiences through different uses of time, talent, and technology. As someone who has seen the benefits firsthand and as a Vision Coalition Leadership Team member, I am committed to seeing this recommendation come to fruition.

We are still learning on this journey—please join us, and learn more. Some of our favorite resources include:

Competency Works: An online resource dedicated to providing information and knowledge about competency education in the K-12 education system.

Knowledge Works: A nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing personalized learning that empowers all students to take ownership of their success.