September 2017
Spotlight on Student-Centered Learning
Each week in September, during Education Innovation Month (#RIEdInno), Rhode Island KIDS COUNT released a Spotlight highlighting how student-centered learning is being implemented across Rhode Island.  These Spotlights included principal, teacher, non-profit and student perspectives. 

Spotlights included: 
Individual Learning Plans
Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) are an important tool for helping students identify their personal, academic, and career goals and for guiding students toward in-school and out-of-school opportunities to help them achieve their goals. Although Rhode Island's Secondary School Regulations require that all students in grade 6-12 have ILPs,  many students do not have them, and those that do often report that they are not being used by guidance counselors, advisors, and others to identify learning experiences to help them achieve their goals. 

This past spring, the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) convened a working committee to develop recommendations to review and revise the state's approach to ILPs. The committee revised the ILP guidance framework and developed recommendations for improving ILP implementation.
New Diploma Designations
As part of the new diploma system going into effect for the Class of 2021, the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education has developed diploma designations as a way of personalizing students' diplomas and encouraging students to meet additional high standards beyond those needed to earn a high school diploma. 

The Council on Elementary and Secondary Education adopted the following three Council Designations, which will be awarded to students who meet the defined criteria for each beginning with the graduating class of 2021: 
  • The Commissioner's Seal Council Designation certifies that a student is proficient in standards aligned to high school expectations in English Language Arts and Mathematics, as confirmed by external evidence. 
  • The Seal of Biliteracy Council Designation certifies that a student has demonstrated skill in the use of the English language and one or more other world languages.  
  • The Pathway Endorsement Council Designation certifies that a student has accomplished deep learning in a chosen area of interest and is prepared for employment or further education in a career path. 

The Rhode Island Department of Education recently released a comprehensive guidance package with information on each Council Designation.

How States Are Addressing Student-Centered Learning in their ESSA Plans
KnowledgeWorks recently released an analysis of how states are using the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to promote student-centered learning. Many states are implementing new initiatives to ensure that students have access to a wide range of rigorous learning experiences that are aligned with their academic, career, and personal goals and prepare them for success in college and careers. This report includes an analysis of what states as a whole and individual states, including Rhode Island, are doing.
For more information about the Student-Centered Learning Initiative, please contact Senior Policy Analyst Stephanie Geller at (401) 351-9400 or