LEAP Connections

Chicago educators innovating together

The Breakthrough Schools program completed its round of school intervisitations on May 31st with visits to Patrick henry Elementary School (Pilot Network, Breakthrough Schools Cohort 2) and Wildwood Elementary School (Breakthrough Schools Cohort 1).

Over the 2016-2017 school year, LEAP facilitated intervisitations at nine Breakthrough Schools. Intervisitations offered schools low-risk ways to see other personalized learning schools in action, enrich their own evolving personalized learning models, build relationships with other educators engaged in innovation, and offer feedback to hosting schools.

When asked how these visits benefitted his team, Peter Rutkowski, Assistant Principal at Disney II said, "LEAP intervisitations throughout the year helped us feel like we were not on an island in our efforts to personalize learning, and [they] supported us in developing innovative instruction that works for our students."

Thanks to all the hosting and participating schools!


Reimagining school space and design for innovation

At the end of May, LEAP Innovations brought together schools from our Breakthrough, Pilot Network, and other programs for a professional development session from Wonder by Design, national experts in innovative school space. 

Sixteen schools – charters, district and Archdiocese – from six LEAP programs attended the collaborative work session taking participants on an inspiring journey into the “why” and “what” of school through the lens of space design. Participants left with concepts for new classroom and school-level design to support greater personalization of learning. 

Read more about Wonder by Design.

LEAP School Spotlight

St. John Brebeuf Featured on Relevant Radio

A LEAP Pilot Network school, St. John Brebeuf in Niles, was featured on a Relevant Radio discussion about personalized learning and breaking the mold of the traditional classroom. Principal Elise Matson and eighth grade teacher Cathy VanTreese spoke about what their classrooms look like now in comparison to previous years and how personalized learning has transformed their school.

Listen to the podcast.


José Clemente Orozco Academy Hosts Personalized Learning Fair

Last week, students at Orozco Academy hosted a Personalized Learning Fair for their parents, successfully demonstrating the Learner Connected component of the LEAP Learning Framework by connecting in-school learning back to families and the community. 

The students built display boards to present different aspects of personalized learning, including flexible seating, growth mindset, Friday choices, the adaptive edtech programs they use. Parents were invited to complete a learning menu, as their students do at Orozco, and had the opportunity to visit different learning stations, showing families firsthand how the student experience at Orozco has changed. Parents were then invited to share their thoughts and questions. Learn more about Orozco Elementary here.


Cahn Fellows Program for Distinguished Principals

Principals from several LEAP schools and LEAP staff recently traveled to a convening of the Cahn Fellows Program for Distinguished Principals at Columbia University, where they presented on their innovative work in front of a national audience. Principals from Lorca Elementary School and Belmont-Cragin Elementary School were invited to showcase their personalized learning efforts, and both highlighted the work they accomplished with LEAP as a major catalyst in transforming their schools. LEAP was thrilled to be in New York to witness the success of all the amazing Chicago schools presenting!

Learn more about the Cahn Fellows Program.

LEAP helps launch national Piloting Toolkit to innovate education across the country

gsv1LEAP Innovations ‐ leader of the national community of practice, the Learning Assembly – collaborated on and recently released a comprehensive toolkit to help educators, schools and districts, and edtech companies successfully develop, implement and assess edtech and personalized learning pilots.

The Learning Assembly, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a network of seven nonprofit organizations – Citizen Schools, Digital Promise, Highlander Institute, iZone, LearnLaunch, LEAP Innovations and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation – and has applied and tested 100 tools in 195 schools; improving learning outcomes for 28,000 students across the country.

Collectively, they have run edtech pilots with hundreds of educators in areas including Chicago, New York, Boston, Providence and the San Francisco Bay Area. Based on their experiences, these organizations have compiled tools to help others effectively plan and prepare for pilots, select the right products, garner buy-in, measure results, and share findings. The toolkit has four distinct sections with differentiated advice for piloting organizations, edtech companies, school and district teams, and individual teachers.


The Learning Assembly recently convened at the LEAP Innovations office in Chicago for two full days of idea sharing and connecting; including visits to LEAP partner schools. Learn more about the Learning Assembly and their piloting best practices by listening to the new podcast series from Getting Smart. The series of three features LearnLaunch InstituteHighlander Institute and LEAP Innovations

Access the Piloting Tookit here.
Read more about the Learning Assembly here.

LEAP Innovations represents at ASU + GSV!

gsv1The eighth annual ASU+GSV Summit, the country’s leading education innovation conference, took place in Salt Lake City earlier this month. LEAP enjoyed a great presence, leading four packed sessions and presenting both the newly released LEAP Learner Connected™ component of the LEAP Learning Framework and the Learning Assembly Piloting Toolkit. We also spotlighted the transformative work taking place in our Breakthrough Schools with a panel of some of Chicago’s most innovative principals.

In addition, LEAP CEO Phyllis Lockett led the keynote lunch panel, Hidden Figures: Women Championing For Equity in Public Education. The panel, with Kaya Henderson, Former Superintendent of DC Public Schools; Dr. Mahalia Hines, CEO of ThinkCommon Foundation; and Jessie Woolley-Wilson, President, CEO and Chair of DreamBox Learning, discussed the importance that proximity plays in developing effective and innovative solutions in education, as well as serving children and communities of high need.

You can watch video of some of our ASU+GSV sessions here:

Exploring Personalized Learning: Connecting Learners In and Out of School
Breakthrough Schools: Lessons Learned in Change Management
Piloting Partnerships: Classrooms to Companies  

LEAP Collaboratory Spotlight: Using a printer to solve a global problem

3d2For LEAP's Third Annual 3D Printing Event, 40 students from three local Archdiocese schools worked in groups to design 3D-printed solutions that help solve a local, national or global problem. The teams from The School of Saints, Faith, Hope and Charity; St. Clements School and Our Lady of Perpetual Help gathered at the LEAP Collaboratory May 9 to present their innovative ideas, including their ideation process and iteration cycles, before their peers and a panel of judges.

Feedback was given to each of the presenting eight teams from the judges and four awards were given: the Collaboration Award, the 3D Print Master Award, the Social Impact Award, and the Innovator Award. The winners of the Innovator Award took home the big prize – a 3D printer!

LEAP was thrilled to host the students and witness the culmination of a school-based project with real-world implications, as well as have the opportunity to give the students a tour of 1871. Congratulations to all who participated!  


New component of LEAP Learning Framework released

Earlier this week, LEAP Innovations released the latest edition of the LEAP Learning Framework, designed to define and guide the implementation of personalized learning in K-12 schools.

The fourth and most recently released component, LEAP Learner Connected™, helps teachers create real-world learning experiences for students connected to families, peers, and the community. Also new in this edition, across all four core components, are examples for each strategy, making the shift to personalized learning more tangible and actionable for educators.

Want to know more about how to implement Learner Connected and other personalized learning strategies in your classroom or school? Visit the LEAP Learning Framework website.  

Sign Up to Take the LEAP Innovations Personalized Learning Surveys!

Are you implementing personalized learning at your school? Gain valuable insights into teacher practices and student experiences by participating in the LEAP Personalized Learning Surveys.

The LEAP Personalized Learning Surveys are designed to measure the teaching practices that personalize learning for students. We are now offering these surveys to schools and districts at no cost. Learn more here.

Jim Shelton Highlights the LEAP Learning Framework

CZI's Jim Shelton Points to the LEAP Learning Framework to Answer "What is Personalized Learning?"

At his iNACOL keynote yesterday, Jim Shelton, president of education at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, talked about the importance of creating personalized learning experiences for all students, and giving teachers the right tools to do so. When answering "What exactly is personalized learning?" Shelton pointed to the LEAP Learning Framework, and outlined its core components. View his talk on the iNACOL Facebook page or YouTube channel, and learn more about the LEAP Learning Framework here.

Announcing the LEAP Learning Framework

What is personalized learning, and what does it look like in practice?

At LEAP Innovations, we’ve considered this question a great deal as we work with educators to innovate in their classrooms. What are the core components of a truly learner-centered approach, and how do these translate into strategies to create this experience for learners?

We set out to answer these questions in the LEAP Learning Framework, complete with actionable strategies for educators to use now. Visit the LEAP Learning Framework website to learn more.