When Principal Stacy Stewart took over as principal eight years ago, Belmont-Cragin Elementary was due for a transformation. Students and staff faced a number of challenges, and the surrounding Belmont-Cragin community had no role in the learning environment or stake in school outcomes. Over the course of the last five years, Stacy and her team have transformed learning at Belmont-Cragin through a journey with personalized learning: their enrollment increased 23 percent from where it was a decade ago, their math attainment percentile has more than doubled (with reading attainment close to doing the same), and their teacher retention rate has exceeded state and district levels the past three years.
She and her instructional leadership team began a deep and sustained effort with LEAP Innovations to “reculture” the school with a guiding question: “What do we want for our children, and what do we do when they struggle?”
In the course of cohort-based professional learning, the Belmont-Cragin school team developed and successfully executed a blueprint for personalized learning. They constructed a statement of innovation and identified design anchors (student agency, competency-based progression, personalized learning paths, and personalized learning environments), curriculum and assessment across content areas, and professional learning, learning environment, and technology needs.