Cape Cod Academy has a formalized personalized learning program for every student in grades K-12. Cape Cod Academy’s PAL Program is designed to identify each student’s unique learning style, motivate students based on their interests and academic level, and challenge them so they are prepared and empowered to reach their full potential. The foundation of the PAL Program is knowing each and every student so that instructional methods and techniques can be adapted to the student’s learning process.
“We are extremely excited to launch this extraordinary initiative,” said Nancy Boyle, Director of Personalized Learning. “This is a totally customized approach to learning. We have allocated many resources, including the investment in three experienced professionals to provide the tools and talent to make this program successful. All teachers will play a part to boost up our students’ strengths and fuel their imagination and potential.”
Every student at Cape Cod Academy will have a digital PAL profile, a holistic view of the individual. Data-driven, fact based, and anecdotal, a profile will consider how each student learns with information derived from class work, standardized testing, background, interests, abilities, achievements, challenges, and previous experiences. Data will reflect learning styles, strengths, weaknesses, and personality, and will be generated through individual rating scales administered through surveys and interviews. This will be enhanced by an array of different data sets compiled throughout the student’s years at Cape Cod Academy. Instruction will be informed by each student’s profile.
“Only when a teacher has a thorough understanding of each student can the teacher successfully link existing knowledge with new information for successful learning,” said Boyle.
This program is not an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that only caters to struggling students. The PAL Program will support all students no matter where they are—from straight-A students who have mastered their content to kids who struggle with academics. The social and emotional aspect will also be a significant component of each student’s PAL profile. Behavior, attention, and executive functioning will be addressed because we know these factors influence learning. Programming will include seminars, independent work, hands-on exercises, advisory meetings, and wellness activities. When students leave Cape Cod Academy, they will be independent, prepared, and confident self-advocates.
Cape Cod Academy was established in 1976 when the focus of learning was holistic—teachers were taught to look at the whole child and develop strategies that supported all developmental aspects of the child. This was followed by 21st-century learning where students were taught new skill sets and how to be comfortable with change. Teaching became technology based with interactive whiteboards, software developments, and an introduction to digital applications. Today, the focus has changed to teaching students to be comfortable with themselves, making personalized learning the next evolution.
“We have studied how our students learn, and it is very different today than just a few years ago for a variety of reasons,” said Jeff Thompson, Head of School. “The way young people access information has changed significantly and this influences how they learn, making personalized learning a necessity in all schools today."
“Cape Cod Academy is pioneering this cutting-edge approach to learning and is uniquely poised because of our size and determination,” said Thompson. “We are doubling down on what we do well and applying the resources and expertise to make this happen. Personalized learning is a natural progression for our school, and an approach every school should do but does not. We have specific, individual data to support our students, and our class sizes provide an ideal environment for this type of learning. We are able to develop learning plans that dovetail with the curriculum to create an exciting learning experience and the foundation for student success.”