From Aspirational to Operational

By Kaylen Tucker Principal, September/October 2019. Volume 99, Number 1.

By Kaylen Tucker
Principal, September/October 2019. Volume 99, Number 1.

With the population of various student subcategories increasing (low socioeconomic status, diagnosed disabilities, English learners, and gifted and talented, to name a few), educators are rightly focused on identifying barriers and redesigning learning experiences to fit diverse learning needs. According to the 2016 Digital Promise Global report “Making Learning Personal for All: The Growing Diversity in Today’s Classroom,” achieving educational equity requires that schools focus on understanding how individual students learn—and not the fictional “average student.”

Prioritizing personalized learning strategies ensures that school leaders move beyond thinking about equity as a core belief and make it into a consistent practice, or as Universal Design for Learning implementation specialist Bill Wilmot writes, moving from the aspirational to the operational to “create effective, learner-centered environments that leverage individual differences rather than expunge them in pursuit of excellence.” (See page 16 to read Wilmot’s article, “A Brighter Future for Personalized Learning: How leaders can apply the Universal Design for Learning framework to continuously support personalized learning.”)

In this issue of Principal magazine, read about the latest research on personalized learning, discover strategies to support teachers’ use of UDL and implement education technology in rural settings, and find out how to set up a sensory room. Then, take your learning to practice with the attached Leading Lessons guide on leveraging data to personalize learning (see page 11). Pull the resource out and use it with your leadership team to assess your data plan.

This year, you can look forward to Principal magazine helping you to move from aspirational to inspirational on topics such as leading with equity, special education, wraparound services, and innovation. I’m always looking for great ideas, so please take the time to let me know your specific needs and how you would like to use Principal magazine as a resource.

— Kaylen Tucker, Ph.D.

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