By Amanda Bohman firstname.lastname@example.org | May 13, 2018
FAIRBANKS — Students in Jeannette Fortune’s class at Ladd Elementary School spend one hour a week learning about a subject of their choosing.
The 8- and 9-year-olds have investigated earthquakes, solar panels, hot air balloons and robots. Students have studied football tackles, chameleons, the state of West Virginia and volcanoes.
In March, Fortune hosted an open house where her third graders created videos and built cardboard models to show what they had learned. Brayden Leach made a hammerhead shark out of foam and paper and shared facts about the predator.
“This is the first time I really feel like Brayden has been pushed to his potential,” said the 9-year-old’s mother, Rose Hubbs.
Fortune is one of the teachers at the forefront of personalized learning at the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, which is 17 months into an initiative to make the teaching style the norm for the borough’s 13,702 K-12 students.
Allowing students to choose what and how they learn is at the core of the effort.