Personalized learning is coming to St. Louis!

Jul 12, 2018

This week the Missouri Charter Public School Commission took the next step to helping hundreds of St. Louis students access a high-quality college preparatory public school that will focus on each student’s individual learning styles and abilities.

On Wednesday, the Commission granted final approval to sponsor Kairos Academies, a new high school level charter school which will feature the innovative and well-respected Summit Learning Program.

The school is expected to open with 115 sixth-graders in the fall of 2019 and eventually grow to a student body of over 700 students.

Personalized learning offers greater student involvement

The school is centered on personalized learning — a style of teaching that helps students guide their own educational journey, both in pacing and direction. It is an educational philosophy that is heralded across the country and has attracted major funding from organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“This is the cutting edge in Missouri,” said Dr. John Wright, a member of the Missouri Charter Public School Commission. “Children need high performing schools with dedicated teachers and the innovative use of technology that create a classroom experience unique to them. Kairos will meet students where they are and prepare them for college and career. But, what sets this innovative school apart is the students will also learn how to teach themselves and develop a love for learning. A great education and the skills to be a life-long learners will serve them well beyond high school.”

Charter format key to success

As exciting as the new personalized learning movement is, a recent study found that it is very hard to implement successfully in a traditional district school setting.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education study examined attempts to implement personalized learning across the country since 2012, revealing lots of enthusiasm for its impact in improving student outcomes but limited success in implementation.

According to the researchers, charter schools were the best environments for successful implementation because of their increased flexibility and the close working relationship between administrators and educators.

In traditional district schools, the researchers found that rigid teacher evaluations, poorly defined expectations, unwillingness to change policies, lack of systemic support, standardized testing, and central office bureaucracy “underscore(d) the difficulty of innovating inside a system that was never designed for innovation.”

Kairos offers carefully planned innovation

In contrast to the wide range of pitfalls that traditional district schools have faced in developing personalized learning across the country, Kairos Academies founders Gavin Schiffres and Jack Krewson have developed a model that intrinsically address those issues before the school even opens.

Kairos Academies’ use of the Summit Learning Program provides clearly defined and proven education structure and outcome and also encourages students to set their own learning goals which will build skills needed in college and the workforce.

The school will also benefit from  longer days and a year-round calendar, continuity with instructors over multiple years, restorative justice based discipline, and more integration between educators and administrators — all practices that are hard to create in a traditional district school setting.

To learn more about the school visit https://www.kairosacademies.org/