OPEN SEASON: LEAP Innovations has opened applications for its third cohort in the LEAP Pilot Network. Schools can apply to partner with LEAP for an 18-month program of learning and experimentation with tools to support personalized learning from selected companies, who must also apply. Fifteen Chicago schools—public, private, and charter—participated in the first cohort, fourteen in the second. This time, LEAP plans to consider applications from schools in the larger area of Chicagoland and may select up to 20 schools.
The program begins with six months of professional development and design thinking training, all focused on how personalized learning fits the needs of each school. The Chicago-based nonprofit then cooperates with each school to identify the appropriate technological tools to implement personalized learning over the coming year, (in this case the 2016-2017 school year). LEAP and the school jointly measure student outcomes and growth by the motto “learner focused, learner paced, learner led,” which anchor LEAP’s approach to personalized learning. The company and the school use student and teacher surveys and direct observation to measure the efficacy of the tools.
Schools pay $25,000 to be part of the program. There’s no cost to companies to participate. Chris Liang-Vergara, LEAP’s Chief of Learning Innovation, said the program chose to eschew a company fee in order to maintain objectivity when evaluating companies that could fill schools’ needs.
Correction, December 9, 2015: An earlier version of this article said that fourteen total schools participated in the first and second LEAP cohorts.