Activity Guide

Developmentally Appropriate Personalization

When educators talk about personalizing the school experience, they often focus on activities to make the environment more personal. However, as the Breaking Ranks definition of personalization highlights, this is a multifaceted process that not only focuses on the environment, but also on the needs of the individual child/student.



Explore Personalization

  • Convene a staff meeting to discuss/explore personalization at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
  • Ask all participants to read the first selection and highlight important ideas.
  • When reading is completed, break participants into small discussion groups of three to five people.
    • Ask groups to discuss and record their answers to three questions on the chart paper provided:
      1. What can each level of school learn from the others about personalization?
      2. What commonalities do you see across all three levels when considering student developmental needs?
      3. What three to five actions currently taking place in your schools are based on both the developmental needs of the students and personalization?
    • When they are finished listing their answers, have the groups post their chart paper. They should retain their markers.

Gallery Walk

Each group should stand at their posted chart paper and then move to the chart to their right. They should read the notes posted by the group whose chart they are reviewing and put a star next to points they find particularly interesting and a question mark next to anything they do not understand. Rotate groups until everyone has reviewed each chart. Conclude the exercise by allowing time for each group to respond to any questions that arose during the review.

Extend and Apply

Participants should read selection 2 from the Breaking Ranks Comprehensive Framework for School Improvement. Identify passages that illustrate each school’s efforts to personalize the school environment in developmentally appropriate ways. Discuss what efforts and actions should be added to those initiatives implemented at your school. Utilize the planning tools and templates as needed.