Personalized Learning

Eight-year-olds Chloe Barkhurst, right, and Jordyn Petrey, center, use iPads as part of personalized learning in Eric Rush's third grade class at Ticasuk Brown. The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District is beginning a transition to personalized learning, in which students form small groups to complete tasks and problems, often with technology. Tuesday Nov. 22, 2016.

Curriculum review is underway in the Fairbanks school district, with four subjects up for revisions this school year.

English/language arts for seventh through 12th grade, social studies for kindergarten through 12th grade, career technical education information technology for middle school and high school, and career technical education engineering all have curriculum slated for revisions. Mathematics for kindergarten through 12th grade and English/language arts competencies for kindergarten through sixth grade are being researched, with revisions anticipated for review next school year.

“The district is moving toward a competency-based learning approach to curriculum, which aligns with the personalized learning model the district has implemented,” wrote Heather Rauenhorst, executive director of communications, development, and engagement with the district, in response to a Daily News-Miner email.

Public comment is open on the proposed changes to English/language arts and social studies, which were posted for review Friday on the district’s website. Career technical education courses, meanwhile, are still in discussions.

“For CTE specifically, we tend to approach and revise by career cluster,” Rauenhorst wrote. “This year we’re working on STEM and IT clusters, but that work hasn’t begun yet. We don’t at this time have a date set for CTE curriculum to be drafted and posted for public comment.”

In social studies, there are 18 proposed changes overall, 11 of which are changes to the title of specific courses. Four new courses are being proposed for high schoolers: United States Civil Rights Experience, Global Diplomacy and Model United Nations, Political Economy 1 and 2, and Media in History.

There were also three classes proposed for removal. If both are approved, United States Civil Rights Experience is proposed to replace Diversity in America and Women’s History, while Economics and Financial Literacy is poised to take the place of Principles of Economics and U.S. in a Global Economy. U.S. in Global Context is suggested to be removed as well.

In English/language arts, 33 changes are being proposed, 12 of which are course title changes. Three new courses were proposed for seventh and eighth grade: Advanced English 7, Speech and Debate and Middle School Literature. Meanwhile, there are seven new courses proposed for ninth through 12th grade, including Asian American Literature, LGBTQ+ Literature and Women’s Literature, Creative Nonfiction, Creative Writing II, Level Up English, Media Analysis, Shakespearean Literature, Writing in All Content Areas for English Language Learners and Latinx Literature. Latinx is the recently coined gender-neutral word for a person from, or whose ancestors were from, a Spanish-speaking land or culture or from Latin America.

Nine English/language arts classes are proposed for removal, with the older classes either being covered by a newly proposed course or being deemed obsolete.

Drafts of curriculum changes and a "Draft 1" feedback form are posted on the school district’s website at Feedback is being accepted on these first drafts until midnight on Oct. 27. There is an option to print out a paper form and drop it off with the Department of Teaching and Learning at 520 Fifth Ave., on the second floor of the school district administrative center, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or email responses to

There will be multiple rounds of drafts until a final draft proposal of curriculum changes is submitted.

“The curriculum writers review every comment, and someone from the Teaching and Learning Department responds to each comment,” Rauenhorst wrote. “The curriculum advisory committee meets every month and is open to the public. The goal is to send the curriculum to the school board in the spring, but this may be put off if more work is needed.”

Contact staff writer Kyrie Long at 459-7510. Follow her on Twitter at: