Facebook, Charter Network Ramping Up Personalized-Learning Software for More Schools

Contributing Writer

Cross-posted from the Digital Education blog

Personalized learning pioneer Summit Public Schools is expanding its network to include 100 new schools, CEO Dianne Tavenner announced via a Facebook post today.

The California-based charter school network has for years been a darling of digital-education proponents.  Since around 2011, Summit has been betting on technology to provide more customized experiences for its students.

In 2014, Tavenner hit it off with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, leading to an unconventional partnership between the charter school organization and the social-networking behemoth around the development of new personalized learning software.  And this year will mark the second cohort of Summit’s “Basecamp” program, through which the network hopes to share its model and tools with other schools around the country.

“It’s an honor to be a small part of a movement that puts students first and recognizes teachers’ talents,” Tavenner wrote.

In March, Education Week took a deep look at the Summit-Facebook partnership, including a peek inside the Basecamp effort at Truesdell Elementary in Washington.  A small group of teachers at the school were enthusiastic about their efforts to redesign the learning experience around Summit’s “Personalized Learning Plan” software, but they also faced a raft of challenges associated with making such a significant cultural shift.

In 2015-16, Truesdell was one of 19 Basecamp schools around the country. In the coming school year, 100 new schools from 27 states will be added to the mix, according to information on Summit’s website.  More than two-thirds of them will be district-run.

A complete list is available here.

Further background on Summit, its approach to personalized learning, and its work with Facebook is below.


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