D51 Learning Model

Why are we transforming into a 21st Century school district?

The world around us is rapidly changing at historically unprecedented rates especially in technological advances. Schools have the tremendous task of preparing our students for jobs that don't exist yet, where they will need to solve problems that have not yet emerged, and use technologies that have not been invented. In addition to a strong background in academics, our students will also need a strong growth mindset and 21st Century skills that are essential for success in the world of work, college, and life.

As part of District 51's transformation process, teachers and administrators have been studying the future and why transforming into a 21st Century school district is imperative. We are no longer living in the Industrial Age and much of what we do no longer makes sense. Three big changes have occurred that make the Industrial Age public education system, which was designed primarily to develop a labor workforce, obsolete. The Internet has made knowledge a commodity that is free and easily accessible. As a result, knowledge is not enough and what really matters is what you can do with what you know. Second, the onset of the new machine age is causing many labor jobs to be automated, shipped overseas, or soon to be replaced by robots. In fact, a study by Georgetown University reported that by the year 2020, 74% of all jobs in Colorado will require some college education or a degree. Finally, the third big change is that transformative technology is now making our world and just about every industry more customized. Think iTunes, Starbucks, Facebook, and Netflix. Today's digital native students are growing up in a world that is increasingly getting more customized and it is time for public education to move in that direction.

What is the D51 Learning Model?

Our Learning Model includes performance based learning practices. Performance based learning (PBL) helps prepare all K-12 students for college and career by ensuring that they meet or exceed standards at a pace that is appropriately challenging, rather than waiting for their peers to catch up or moving on without having fully mastered the standards. Students demonstrate mastery in a set of standards within a subject before advancing.

It is personalized, not "one size fits all"

  • In Performance Based Learning, instruction is based on the student's readiness level, instead of a cookie-cutter approach that holds back students who are ready to move ahead and advances others before they are ready. Because it is personalized, it is harder for students to fall through the cracks; teachers and parents know how a student is doing and can ensure he or she has the support needed to succeed.
  • Because students work at their performance level and advance when they meet or exceed standards, Performance Based Learning prevents learning gaps from developing and growing over time. As a result, this approach keeps students on the path to graduate from high school ready for college and career.

As a result, all students build a stronger academic foundation and are better able to master knowledge and skills critical to prepare them for college and career.

Frequently Asked Questions

The D51 Learning Model will impact every student, every classroom, and every parent as District 51 transforms over the next few years. The district will work collaboratively to answer numerous questions during the transformation process - from determining how to weave important life skills into the academic setting to deciding how teachers will determine whether a student has proven he or she understands a piece of curriculum and is ready to move onto the next piece of the content puzzle.

It will take time to answer all of these questions. For now, click here for some questions that have been answered.

The Five Phases of Implementation

Implementation Phases

When is District 51 implementing Performance Based Learning?

During the 2015-2016 school year, District 51 is focusing on implementing phase one and phase two in the seven demonstration/learning sites. The sites include: Broadway, Chipeta, Lincoln Orchard Mesa, and New Emerson elementary schools, East Middle and, Grand Mesa Middle schools and R-5 High School.

Phase one: Laying the foundation

Phase one, laying the foundation for Performance Based Learning, begins implementation at the seven demonstration sites and across the district. Phase one includes teaching students and staff about having a "growth mindset," social-emotional learning (Habits of Mind), and personalized learning.

Having a "growth mindset" means believing that hard work and dedication develops one's abilities; brains and talent are just part of the success equation. Fixed mindsets believe intelligence and talent are predetermined, and can't be developed beyond a certain point.

Habits of Mind is an educational concept that focuses on developing the attributes of intelligence. Habits of persistence, listening, controlling impulses -- ways in which we can teach students to think instead of just know the information we share.

Phase two: Supporting effective practices

Phase two, supporting effective practices, delves deeper into aligning standards across schools, establishing rubrics, and sampling differentiated units in the classroom. Growth mindset is a current focus in the seven demonstration schools.









Performance Based Learning Articles

What's Next in PBL.pdf

A Culture Shift.pdf

What's Next in Performance Based Learning.pdf

The Culture Shift of Performance Based Learning.pdf

Student-driven teacher-facilitated learning.pdf

Why Performance Based Learning.pdf

Frequently Asked Questions.pdf

Growth Mindset.pdf

Habits of Mind.pdf

Phases of Performance Based Learning Implementation.pdf

Introducing Performance Based Learning.pdf

Transforming Education.pdf

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