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Star Tribune writers tracking education issue

Educators explore personalized learning spaces

Representatives from six states and 18 school districts converged on Chaska High School earlier this month to examine a new education trend: personalized learning spaces.

Industry experts at the conference encouraged educators to rethink school learning spaces and find models that work for students. Some are trying it with creative spaces and flexible furniture in classrooms and school-wide. Others are using creative class time to stretch boundaries.

Eastern Carver County Schools calls itself a leader in personalized learning, with spaces such as the Loft in Chanhassen High School. The Loft allows for students to get help, work in small groups or study independently.

The district is “using their school library media centers as the ‘sandbox’ to experiment and create flexible learning spaces that can impact every student,” according to a statement.

The conference turned some classrooms and spots in the Chaska High media center into experiment zones to try out equipment and receive student feedback on what helps them the most.

Brad Gustafson, principal at Greenwood Elementary in the Wayzata district, uses a fleet of carts in his school that transport collaborative supplies, such as knitting yarn and looms, cardboard construction and Legos. He presented at the conference about these mobile maker spaces.

“It’s still ALL about the kids,” Gustafson tweeted in a conference takeaway.

Meet the Minneapolis superintendent candidates

Michael Goar, Charles Foust and Sergio Paez, the three candidates for superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools, will visit with staff, teachers and community members next week. Here are the events that will be televised or open to the public. Events that are televised will air on ch.15 and will be streamed on the district's website.

December 1

Panel with Minneapolis students and teachers (televised only) 4:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m

December 2

Panel with community partners (televised only) 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. 

Panel with Minneapolis parents and school leaders (televised only) 4:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m. 

Community reception at Webster Elementary School 6:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. 

December 3

Board interviews candidates at Davis Center 8:30 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.

Public comment on the candidates at Davis Center 5:30 p.m. 

The board will select its preferred candidate on Dec. 7.