Engage Learning is thrilled to be partnering with both Duncanville ISD and Harlingen CISD as they take the vision for project-based learning across their districts. Knowing that PBL increases student engagement, attendance and achievement, the leadership in these two visionary districts has decided to provide relevant, engaging project-based learning opportunities for all students. The districts have taken unique approaches to scaling the model.
Harlingen CISD, a district of 28 campuses and approximately 18,000 students is located in the Rio Grande Valley. Their approach to scaling PBL is building critical mass with teacher leaders on a volunteer basis. A few years ago, Dr. Steve Flores, Superintendent of Schools, allowed teacher leaders to pilot PBL at Early College High School with Veronica Cortan as Principal. After working with several models, leaders decided to partner with Engage! Learning to ensure a systematic, comprehensive approach to PBL design that could be used to move PBL district-wide. The Engage PBL model with protocols in design, learning and facilitation has been the “user-friendly” solution to creating that fidelity.
Creating about 45 digital classrooms and PBL classrooms K-12 supported by campus specialists and Engage training has been the first step. Beginning in May 2012, teacher leaders, librarians, instructional coordinators, and campus administrators coupled PBL with renovated Information Literacy Centers, housing relevant technology and trained staff. HCISD created an elementary team and a secondary team of teachers that attended the Engage 2012 PBL Collaborative Cohort which meant that 20 teachers and 4 administrators were trained with the Collaborative 12-day package. They also brought Engage in to facilitate a five-day institute for 60 additional teachers and campus specialists as well as several days of training for all campus administrators spread throughout the year. The vision of the district is to triple the number of classrooms next year by continuing the 5-day institute and sending several more teams through the 2013 Collaborative Cohort as well as build the internal capacity of the district to sustain the initiative long-term through the Engage Coaches Academy.
Duncanville Independent School District , just south of the Dallas Metropolis serves 13,000 students and district leadership has researched and piloted PBL and Designing for Profound Learning for over 5 years. Superintendent Dr. Alfred Ray and Duncanville ISD launched the “All In” initiative this year implementing PBL across all 3rd grade classrooms and in selected classrooms on each campus in both 5th and 7th grades using the Engage model. The goal for Duncanville is to engage students in directing their own learning through the PBL model so that they gain the soft skills and enhance their own self-awareness and capacity to lead. In partnering with Engage this year, the district sent 6 teams of PBL teachers to the 2012 Collaborative Cohort and had another 40 teachers trained during a 6-week design effort to prepare curriculum. Dr. Larry McHaney, Deputy Superintendent, says the vision is that the PBL learning platform will expand to include 4th, 6th, and 8th grades next year and then roll both upward and downward in subsequent years.
Engage Learning applauds the courage and leadership of these two districts in truly taking the steps to transform the industrial, one-sized fits all system to a more personalized model that will prepare students for their life in this century!