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November 15, 2012

DCSC testing new style of teaching

DANVILLE — Danville Community School Corporation (DCSC) has instituted a new learning program in an attempt to keep students more engaged and receive instruction at their own pace.

Danville South Elementary School is one of several schools in the corporation trying out the new teaching style called Mass Customized Learning (MCL) in pilot classes for its third- and fourth-grade math classes.

DCSC Superintendent Dr. Denis Ward said the corporation started looking for ideas to improve the teaching and learning processes five years ago. After a few years of searching, they came across the MCL model.

Ward said DCSC did the necessary research which included visiting other schools across the country that have implemented this type of program. After gaining knowledge on the model, he said DCSC set up teacher-led committees to tailor it to Danville’s needs.

The program was instituted throughout the school system at the beginning of this year in various subjects, and at South, there are five pilot classrooms focusing on math.

Ward is working with Principal Tina Noe, Director of Academic Services Morgan Walker, and teachers to make the pilot program a success.

Noe said the students’ goal is to master each lesson so they can move on to the next topic, and ultimately be able to show they have completed the necessary steps to advance past a grade level in that subject.

She said the MCL teaching method allows students with similar learning levels to be grouped together and for each student to go at their own pace, which allows them to get a more personalized learning experience. Students are also afforded the chance to take ownership over their learning, something Noe said she has found really motivates them.

Walker said the change in style of teaching has also motivated the teachers. Many of them volunteered for the pilot classes.

“The teachers that are doing these pilots are extremely passionate,” she said. “Not only because they volunteered, but now that they’ve taken ownership, they’re very vested in the process. They want everything to succeed.”

Ward emphasized that the new program still follows state standards.

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