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Webster teacher Travis Pyke (left) and school counselor Gracie Billings (right) told the board about personalized and blended learning and how they can implement new ideas into their classrooms.

WEBSTER––A group of teachers and administrators recently returned from a conference where the main topic was personalized learning.

The iNACOL Symposium was held over the last week in October in Palm Springs, Calif.

Elementary school counselor Gracie Billings, high school language arts teacher Travis Pyke, Title I/resource reading specialist Kari Roppe, middle school principal Pamela Peterson and Webster superintendent Jim Erickson were all in attendance at the conference.

Pyke explained to the board the major focus was on personalized learning. This technique aims to customize learning for each student and addresses their individual needs.

“It was an awesome experience,” Pyke said. “A lot of information on personalized and blended learning to help schools, like ours, have a more personalized learning base for the students.”

Blended learning centers around the physical classroom education along with online educational materials.

Peterson said she attended a session on competency based learning. She told the board one of her main takeaways was that students need to advance in their curriculum when they are ready or have proven a mastery of the subject. This goes against traditional standards of basing mastery on seat time.

She added that the process of transition entirely to personalized learning needs the support of everyone in the district.

“We all need to do the same book study,” Peterson said. “The teachers, board members, kitchen staff, bus drivers and students all need to do the same book study. Then we will all have a common language for a starting point.”