New Designs for School
New Designs for School

We’ve all had the experience of truly purposeful, authentic learning and know how valuable it is. Educators are taking the best of what we know about learning, student support, effective instruction, and interpersonal skill-building to completely reimagine schools so that students experience that kind of purposeful learning all day, every day.

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Primary Contact Name:
Johnna Noll
Award Date:
July 2013
Grant Type:
National Planning
Planned Start Date:
Fall 2014
Startup Type:

School: West Allis-West Milwaukee School District
Grades Served: K-12
Location: West Allis, WI
Operator: West Allis-West Milwaukee School District
Operator Type: District
Setting: Urban/Suburban
Students at Opening: 4,000
Students at Capacity: 9,500

HALLMARK FEATURE: District-wide personalization

West Allis-West Milwaukee School District (WAWM), an anchor district member of the Chief Council of State School Officers’ (CCSSO) Innovation Lab Network, plans to create personalized, deep learning environments tailored to meet the needs of individual learners for all 9,500 students in the district. In 2011-12, WAWM launched its next generation learning approach in 32 elementary classrooms. In 2012-13, next generation learning expanded into 66 elementary and 12 intermediate classrooms. All elementary pilot classrooms have shown increased academic achievement and growth compared with non-participating classrooms at their school.

The complete redesign of the academic model in WAWM schools will involve Individual Learning Plans, data-driven planning and decision making, inquiry-based learning, digital learning tools, and strong staff/student relationships. The six pillars that are an integral part of all next gen learning environments in the district are career pathways, student-centered learning environments, competency-based progression, student voice in learning, a 21st century skill set, and family and community partnerships.The plan for district-wide scale-up will involve these replicable next generation learning practices:

  • Learning Progression Continuums—used to identify students’ skill level at a given point in time, to deliver instruction, and to set personalized learning goals—will be expanded and digitized for all grades and serve as the foundation for competency-based progressions
  • A digital bank of K-12 instructional strategies and lessons will be developed to accelerate data-driven student learning
  • Individual Learning Plans for all students will provide a 24/7 menu of deep inquiry- and project- based, blended, and virtual learning opportunities accounting for rigorous standards, student interest, and selected career pathway
  • 1:1 mobile learning devices will be fully implemented for all students and staff
  • Technology and physical environments will be redesigned to support next generation learning
  • A data warehouse will enable longitudinal analysis of student data covering a range of information
  • Innovative Lab School and Classroom Incubator Models will be used to scale up next generation learning implementation
  • Personalized professional development will continue to develop educators’ skills to facilitate next generation learning

Photo by Towpilot (Own work) CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons