By Guest Blogger Melissa Kinsley, Director of Marketing, Communications & Admissions
The concept of personalization has permeated our lives to the point that it has become an expectation. Our morning coffee arrives not only precisely how we want it but also with our name on it. We create virtual radio stations via an app specific to a genre or our favorite artist/band to cater to our musical mood at any given moment. We no longer wait for the specific day and time to watch our favorite TV shows; instead, we just log on to our favorite TV platform to watch whatever and whenever we want. With just a few clicks, we indicate our fashion preferences and items tailored to satisfy our specific style are delivered to our door. We are very familiar with the term “personalization” when it comes to the goods and services we use every day.
Personalization when it is used in the context of education or a school environment is certainly less familiar and unexpected. The first question is what does personalization in education mean? The second is what can a personalized education mean to my child at St. Leo Catholic School?
Personalization is a research-based approach to education that puts the individual learner at the center and meets students where they are. Meeting students where they are starts with understanding that students do not arrive on the first day of preschool or kindergarten as a blank canvas. Each student is shaped by their familial and cultural experiences. Each student is an individual and it’s critical that educators recognize that a one size fits all approach to education will not help students reach their full potential.
Personalization in education further recognizes that students gather information differently and learn in a variety of ways. One student may be a visual learner, another may be a hands-on learner, and another may achieve the best results by listening to lectures while still another may rely on a combination of these approaches to perform to his/her highest level. For every one of these students to be successful, the classroom they are in needs to be responsive to their needs.
St. Leo Catholic School recognizes that each student is an individual with differing learning styles and needs. They have one class per grade for students in preschool through eighth grade which enables the teachers to establish strong relationship with their students that transcends test scores. Teachers see the whole child—intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.
St. Leo offers responsive classrooms that can easily meet the needs of the individual learner and encourage a lifelong love of learning. Students are encouraged to take risks and to problem solve. The rigorous curriculum and clear expectations and benchmarks set by the teachers provides a strong framework from which students can add their own creativity and express their individuality.
A recent example is February’s Third Grade book report. The assignment was to read a biography, to prepare a speech and to create an award fitting with the person’s life or accomplishments. One student created a peace cake to celebrate the Peace Award given to Maya Angelou. Another student dressed up as Betsy Ross and presented the modern flag to commemorate Betsy’s Ross role as a strong contributor in American history. Another created a Braille book to recognize the strides Heller Keller made in her own education and those of every sight impaired child.
Teachers at St. Leo support the growth of every student. Emphasis is placed on learning from mistakes rather than avoiding them to create a learning environment in which students are not afraid to push boundaries and take risks. Teachers and students take pride not only in the final grade achieved but also the process and growth along the way.
St. Leo offers a rigorous curriculum, teachers with high expectations, outstanding student achievement scores on standardized tests, as well as student accomplishments in arts, athletics, and community service. Students are encouraged to grow in faith, knowledge and service in a close-knit school community.
Whatever gifts and talents your child possesses, St. Leo Catholic School will meet your child’s individual needs. Visit their website or schedule a personalized tour to learn more.
*Sponsored by St. Leo Catholic School