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V.P., Personalized Education Group: Envision, Create, Empower ~ Eclectic group of creative educators who envisioned ways to prepare students for the future, created a school, and now empower students, their families, and other educators wanting to create personalized learning environments.

Co-creator, CSO, Christa McAuliffe School of Arts & Sciences ~ Coming full-circle, this is an online version of the face-to-face program Tamra piloted in 1997-99. Ranked # 5 in Best Online High School Diplomas! World-wide accredited private school personalized to each student’s learning needs, interests, and goals. With control over their yearly calendar and school schedule, students tend to take one or two classes at a time, starting a new class immediately upon completing a previous one.  Mastery-based, students complete courses at 80% or higher, with extra help and the ability to revisit and redo lessons as needed to master at a higher level (and grade). Students can tailor their learning, from proposing an alternate assignment to a lesson to the student-design of an entire course — just so long the learning goals are met!

Current Focus

  • Setting up foundational training for educators and anybody else desiring to learn how to create and nurture personalized learning environments that value neurodiversity, creativity, and personal empowerment.
  • Spreading the word about this empowerment-focused education philosophy and learning model — this includes sharing about CMASAS and connecting with potential partners who want to create or refine their own programs.

 

Previous Education Field Projects:

 

Personalized Education Philosophy – Created a 10-point philosophy, and then aligned a learning model to this philosophy.  CMASAS was then created based on this philosophy and model. See the Survey of Research that was presented as part of the accreditation process. The philosophy was published in SEEN Magazine and has since been assigned reading in university classrooms.

Insight Schools – Served on small team to create the first online public school for Washington, and then also served on the California team. This is one of those projects that went a very different direction after the original team members were no longer there, but it was fantastic experience that was put to future use. It also made Tamra realize that if you want something done right… maybe starting a school wasn’t such a bad idea. The seed took hold. 

Girls in Video Game Design – Ever accidentally fall into a project? Not only did Tamra find herself facilitating the creation of a girls in video game design program and being part of an accompanying documentary, she was nominated for the 2006 Athena Award for her efforts. She didn’t win, but she got to attend a fancy dinner with too many forks on the table and dine with an astronaut and (the award winner) a woman who started her own school, with the conversation including asking Tamra when she was going to start her own school. Oh no, she had no plans to do that, she insisted. However, a seed was planted. 

JCS Curriculum Library Update & Staff Training – Julian, CA: Evaluated and updated resource center’s curriculum collection, created new catalogue with additional guidance for personalizing learning to individual students, and trained/mentored staff in personalizing learning for individual student needs, interests, and goals.

Charter Annex –  CA: Online courses for homeschoolers and public school students – including Cinema as Literature, Responding to Literature, Essay Basics, Integrated Social Studies & Language Arts, and other humanities courses – were created and implemented. Also provided curriculum and instruction consulting for purposes of personalizing learning for individual students.

Honorable Honors – Making GATE Meaningful: This is an ongoing project that started by serving as a GATE/Honors middle school instructor in California and culminated in the creation of the CMASAS Honorable Honors program – being implemented to this day. It applies the tenets of the Personalized Education Philosophy, having students engage in activities that 1) are of higher level cognitive and/or affective learning, 2) meaningful to the individual student, and 3) that result in personal and/or community benefits. Result: meaningful learning that also builds a student resume and college application potential.

Dartmouth PSI for Middle School Language Arts – Hemet, CA: Applied PSI concepts combined with other techniques to create a mastery-based language arts program using authentic assessment and integration of social studies concepts. Test score increases averaged 10-30 percentile points.

Valley View Personalized Systems of Instruction (PSI) Middle School Math – Simi Valley, CA: Students with a wide range of prerequisite knowledge were able to move through a prescriptive, self-paced, mastery-based program so that each student was continuously learning and moving foward.

Simi Valley Home Hospital Program – Simi Valley, CA: The district wanted to help students who were home-bound but did not have system in place. An initial system was created and implemented, serving students with varying emotional and physical needs. Learning was individualized for each student based on learning, environmental, health, and other needs/preferences.

Richland Diversified Occupations & Work Study Program – Richland, WA: Created a system that brought the district into compliance with state law and made it available to students from all socio-economic levels, helping students build a resume of experience along with specialized training and certifications. It became a model for other districts to follow.

Personalized Independent Study Program for “At Risk” Students – Richland, WA: Student-centric program tailored classes for each individual student, with student input, to meet student learning needs and preferences, life situations, and education/career goals. It was self-paced and mastery-based. Students attended daily to use resources and receive guidance, but otherwise it was considered to be independent study.

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