Personalization – the mechanics


For the past few weeks I have mused on the theme of personalization, wandering off on a number of tangents. Fortunately, for us at SMUS, “personalization” is already in our genes, as a school: we have always pursued the “excellence in all of us.” Not radical, therefore, but not to be ignored, either. It crossed my mind this week that those parents, alumni and others who have read these entries might be interested in what the concrete next steps for us will be. Therefore I am copying for you the memo sent out to our teaching staff earlier this week outlining our next stage in personalization. This will give you a tiny window onto the mechanics of how we do things, internally – how we work out the details of the future.

Professional opportunity: Personalization Team

At our annual January retreat, the Management Team devoted its discussion to the theme of personalization at SMUS. In professional development workshops and exercises, we have explored aspects of this issue several times as a staff. Our School is not alone in considering it to be one of the most important themes in education in the coming decade. For independent schools in general, it will be a critical issue in order to remain relevant and competitive. For SMUS in particular, it will be critical to implement personalization in such a way that we continue to be one of the foremost schools anywhere in providing opportunities for excellence among our students.

The Management Team came to the conclusion that our best next step is to create a team of staff who will dedicate a portion of their time for the next two or three years to shepherding our approach to personalization. Therefore, we are going to create such a team. Staff who apply for this opportunity can expect to consult with other staff, to undertake appropriate research, to support their colleagues on this path, and, together with the Management Team, to guide us as a School in implementing an integrated and excellent approach to personalization at SMUS. It can also be considered a “distributed leadership” opportunity, with an honorarium attached. I anticipate that these staff will allocate about three hours a week to this task, for which adjustments will be made in their working commitments.

On the Head’s Blog, I have devoted several recent entries to this topic, and will continue to do so a couple of more times, to convey some of the ways in which personalization is woven into our future.

What are we looking for:

We are looking for four staff, one in Junior School, one in Middle School and two in Senior School. These staff should be interested in continuing the evolution of the School’s approach to personalization. If you are one of these staff, you should be prepared to model a professional, collaborative approach, bring to your work a significant interest in and competence with technology, demonstrate an innovative spirit in education, and be committed to the pursuit of academic excellence.

Task: to map out the SMUS path to personalization

  • To continue what we have started; to consider the gap between where we are and where we want to go
  • To articulate and describe how personalization will work at SMUS
  • To advise on professional development of entire staff
  • To consider and advise on adjustments to program
  • To consider and advise on timetable and calendar

Outline of Role:

  • Time allotment as part of their FTE
  • Leadership allowance
  • Team would consult regularly with Management Team
  • Director of Learning will be the point person for the team


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