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District Receives Grant for Personalized Learning

Submission Date: May 12, 2014 

Release Date:  For Immediate Release 

Contact: J.D. Hardin, 770-957-5107 ext. 608,

(Release # 0061-05-14)

 Personalized Learning Grant

 HCS Receives Grant to Further Develop, Implement Personalized Learning

Effort underway to transform learning approach for each student’s needs  

HENRY COUNTY, GA –Henry County Schools recently learned they would be getting financial and technical assistance from a grant to help further research, develop, and implement a personalized learning plan and vision for the school system. Henry County Schools has been researching and implementing elements of personalized learning in various ways and at small scale for the past few years. 

Earlier grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have supported individual schools in their commitment to personalized learning.  The Next Generation Systems Challenge is aimed at assisting entire districts with the effort of personalized learning for all schools. The school system was first awarded phase one of the Next Generation Systems Challenge (NGSC) Grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the fall of 2013.  The largest 200 school districts in the United States were eligible for the opportunity, and only 20 of those districts were chosen for phase one funding. Henry County Schools is the only district in Georgia to be chosen for the grant. 

Phase one of the grant provided HCS with $100,000 which allowed for a more in-depth study of personalized learning models across the country and the development of a comprehensive vision and strategic plan for implementing personalized learning in the district. Throughout the research and development phase, parents, principals, teachers, and central office staff collaboratively developed a plan and vision for the district. 

Most recently, HCS was awarded phase two funding of $313,000 to provide opportunity for six individual schools to engage in strategic planning and redesign centered on personalized learning. Six other school districts across the nation were granted phase two funding, including districts in California, Texas, Florida, and Colorado. 

Through Henry County Schools’ application and selection process, schools in the district had an opportunity to be a part of the inaugural group of schools tasked with being the torchbearers; other schools will start the same process in a tiered rollout over the next five years. The six schools were chosen by a review panel and will begin their own research, visioning and strategic planning process during the 2014-15 school year.  Their goal is to open the 2015-16 school year with unique learning models aimed at personalizing education for their learners. 

The schools selected for the district launch include the following:

·         Luella High School

·         Luella Middle School

·         Locust Grove Middle School

·         Henry County Middle School

·         Hampton Middle School

·         Hampton High School 

Hampton High School will open its doors during its first school year with significant elements of a personalized learning school in place. The research and development has been underway for this school since ground was broken in 2012. 

To gain feedback and help answer any questions teachers, parents, and community members at-large, Henry County Schools has held informational sessions for the community and will continue to host such sessions regularly until the start of the 2015-16 school year. 

HCS’ vision for personalized learning is that learners must play an active role and be given significant choice related to what, when, where, and how they learn.  Learners must be active, self-regulated participants in the development and design of their learning and should be invested in the creation of their learning plans based on their interests, strengths, passions, and aspirations. 

Superintendent Rodney Bowler offered these comments with regards to the recent awarding of phase two:

 We are appreciative of the support given through this grant from the Gates Foundation. The work our district has embarked on resonates with what the Foundation sought through their grant selection process; a district focusing on providing relevance and rigor for its students through a relational and personalized approach. The opportunities the grant will afford our district will help us further uphold our mission of ensuring success for each student. Our school community stands to benefit greatly from the support this grant will provide in our efforts of personalizing learning.

 For more information on Personalized Learning in Henry County Schools, visit