Next year, Mason City Schools students will have two Personal Learning Days on November 21, 2016 and February 17, 2017. Students will not report to school on personal learning days, but this isn't a “day off.” Instead, Personal Learning Days empower students to pursue the learning that inspires, engages, or connects with them.
Personal Learning Days are a recognition that learning happens outside the school day. On personal learning days, students will experience integration of learning and their life by embarking on projects outside of school that may include service learning, global learning and online learning. The District will provide a framework and a variety of learning opportunities, and families and students will have a choice in how they accomplish those learning objectives. This is a student/family/community learning opportunity, and there will be time to collect and celebrate the learning.
"Our students are naturally curious. Personal Learning Days are a new way that we can nurture this curiosity and grow life-long learners," explained Jonathan Cooper, Innovative Learning Officer. "And, that learning isn’t bound to November 21st and February 17th. We can’t wait to see how students seize this opportunity to share evidence of the kind of learning that we know is happening - but sometimes doesn't get acknowledged or celebrated. We appreciate our families' active involvement in their children's learning, and know that this will extend those opportunities."
Personal Learning Days will provide:
Flexibility for learners to have choice that connects to their personal learning goals.
Opportunities to recognize that learning does not only happen within the traditional school schedule.
Family involvement in student learning that can impact the Mason community and global world.
Professional learning time for our educators.
The Personal Learning Days concept was a collaborative idea among teachers, administrators and other district leaders. Educators agree that monitoring will need to be creative and flexible.
"Choice is very important for authentic learning. It is so exciting to see kids designing what they want to learn about, and how they're going to learn it. We recognize that growing the next generation of engaged citizens, problem-solvers and leaders means encouraging our students (and our administrators and teachers) to embrace a culture of healthy risk-taking. As we move forward, we hope to empower students to make more decisions about their learning everyday," Cooper said.