King School: Personalization helps students thrive
King School’s signature approach to education – a personalized approach to teaching and learning — is the essence of the King experience.
When schools talk about personalization, the focus is often on technology that allows for curricular choice and individual feedback, supported by teaching practices based on emerging research in child development and cognitive science. While those are crucial elements of personalization, King believes it must be accompanied by a commitment to fully understanding each student in the context of trusting relationships. At King, it’s the “person” in personalization — the student’s passions, goals, and challenges — that animates all educational endeavors.
“Our teachers are meaningfully in tune with what’s happening with each child as well as what’s happening across the classroom,” said Lindsay Wyman, King PreK-Grade 4 Director of Teaching and Learning.
Anne Moriarty, Chair of the Teaching and Learning Department said teachers take each individual student into account when planning lessons, classroom activities and assessments
“At King, it’s about not only knowing whether students understand the lesson content, but teachers also appreciate that when students feel known and understood, they are much more likely to engage and direct — and even find joy — in the learning process,” Moriarty said “Teachers want students to successfully demonstrate what they learned and to measure this new learning against their personal goals.”
Underpinning teachers’ deep understanding of each student is a comprehensive student learning profile, started in pre-kindergarten and developed through senior year. This database captures learning strengths, challenges and goals, and provides a window into a student’s social and emotional development. These profiles, which incorporate parent input, thoughtfully support the guided development of core 21st century skills such as collaboration, communication, and personal responsibility. Karen Raidt, Head of Lower School, points out, “these profiles offer student-specific strategies for inspiring each learner to get the most out of King’s challenging curriculum.”
In the classroom, King’s personalized teaching takes many forms. For example, for a Grade 3 student who is developing reading stamina, personalization might involve matching that student with those “just right” books that pair their language decoding skills and their interest in science. King’s flexible curriculum also includes specialized courses, such as Advanced Number Theory and Probability for Grade 7 talented Mathematics students, and the opportunity for Upper Students to structure an independent study program in any subject area.
In King’s Lower School, the personalized approach is particularly important for developing reading proficiency. Wyman notes that the faculty’s practice of regularly evaluating each student’s progress allows teachers to be nimble with reading group placements. “Particularly in the early years, there can be so many changes in a short time,” Wyman said. “Regularly evaluating and responding to progress is key to successful personalization.”
Ultimately, personalization helps students get to know themselves as learners, empowering them with a self-awareness that opens up more avenues to explore and succeed.
“We are passionate about personalization because we see it working for each child,” Moriarty said.
Learn more about King’s PreK-Grade 12 program at kingschoolct.org. Attend a Lower School Open House April 19 or May 17.