This week, the Institute is pleased to have a guest blogger. Jessica Singer is a member of the Institute @ CESA #1 Youth Advisory Council, a group of students formed this year to inform ongoing program development and communications efforts. They also helped to plan and implement this year’s Summit.

As personalized learning becomes implemented in more school districts to re-design public education, 15 school districts gathered at the Sheraton Hotel in Brookfield on March 12th, 2013 for the 2nd Annual Institute @ CESA #1 Youth Summit. A ‘successful day’ is an understatement, as students collaborated, engaged, and made decisions on what changes they would like to see. The day began with an overview of personalized learning to orient new individuals and districts and also for a brief recap for districts and students already involved in personalizing learning. Five students experiencing personalized learning proceeded with interviews and impromptu questions. This allowed students to create an image of their typical day. Students then participated in an interactive discussion to share their opinions about education and how personalized learning would change their future. Later in the day, each district gathered together to collaborate about their new ideas, and how they could create positive impact within their educational community. By engaging in discussions with other schools, students had the opportunity to understand what other school districts are doing. Lastly, these intelligent students could voluntarily participate in an interview on their educational experience thus far and how they viewed their future education. Students attending the Summit were provided opportunities to maximize their knowledge about personalized learning and learned the endless possibilities still to come.

As a member of the Institute @ CESA #1’s Youth Advisory Council, the opportunities have been infinite. The Youth Advisory Council engages students in various discussions on how to improve learning and how to create a personalized learning system that works for each individual. Over the course of 8 months, the Council became an efficient team assisting in the organization of the highly successful Youth Summit. We generated ideas and activities for the students to stay engaged and attentive during the Summit. The hard work, multiple meetings on Friday nights, and collaboration and deliberation, paid off at the Summit. The Council allowed us all to create a positive impact on our education and truly have our voices heard. As a student I was provided the opportunity to discuss my education on a personal level with a few of my teachers and administrators.

It is clear that education is a very important part of my life and will continue to be in the upcoming years. I wanted to make a difference in my education and truly have a say in personalized learning. This journey has been incredible, as I have made endless memories and opened countless doors for my future.