I recently had the opportunity to listen to Superintendent Roger Cook speak about the great work he does for the Taylor County School District in Kentucky. He has been the superintendent there for seven years and only recently did he discover that what he does is now called personalized education. Taylor is one of the first districts in Kentucky to be named a District of Innovation, and why?
Students are not allowed to fail in Taylor County. Staff will work with each student until they get it right. It can happen because every student receives a personalized education and what they are learning is at the appropriate ability level, always. Consequently, Taylor has a zero percent drop-out rate. They also claim to have the highest graduation rate in the nation. It’s a performance based system where, in order for students to move on to higher content, they must achieve 90% mastery of the current content. They define it as “a system of teaching and learning that places students in grade-level content areas based on mental capacity rather than chronological age”.
Taylor provides every student with the opportunity to receive an education in six different ways. They can choose one of them or they can choose all six. There is actually a traditional program for students who may want that, or part of the time. This seems to have the lowest enrollment. Students can also participate in self-paced, project based, peer led and virtual programs. They also offer a Cardinal Academy that students can apply for but only one hundred students are selected. The students in the academy are totally self-directed and choose from the other five offerings.
Technology is used to facilitate the personalized process and the district has gained recognition from National School Boards Association and others. Learn more about the district by visiting http://www.taylor.kyschools.us