In 2012, the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District (GJUESD) in Galt, California was selected as one of 16 districts in the United States that received a federal Race to the Top-District grant to improve student learning through a districtwide initiative focused on personalized learning (PL) for students and educators. Located in California's San Joaquin Valley, Galt has a diverse population of approximately 3,900 students.
To implement the four-year initiative, the district made profound, coordinated changes to district, school, classroom, and out-of-school policies and practices. The efforts coalesced as a unique and integrated strengths-based PL model designed to support every student's strengths, aspirations, and individual learning needs.
PL, broadly defined, is a system of instructional practices that take into account individual students' needs and goals. This report describes:
- A PL model developed by GJUESD
- The gradual implementation of the model over a 4-year period
- The results of an impact study focused on measuring its effectiveness
The study used longitudinal student achievement data from district students, along with data from a matched virtual comparison group — that is, a group created using a national database from a widely used assessment vendor — to measure the effect of the intervention on students in the areas of mathematics, reading, and language usage.