The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) announced a statewide partnership with Defined Learning for the 2021-2022 school year.
Defined Learning was selected after a thorough procurement process. The online curriculum directly supports CSDE's goal of delivering equitable access to high-quality online curricula and courses at no cost to school districts.
All K-12 students will receive access to Defined Learning's online curriculum which includes 300+ career-focused projects. Defined Learning lessons align with Connecticut state standards and will supplement the existing curriculum.
“Advancing equity and access requires us to think boldly and create transformative programs that leverage the deliberate and strategic use of technology in concert with in-person learning. Defined Learning does that by encouraging students to explore new careers through project-based learning while challenging them to demonstrate their knowledge to solve real-world problems. Integrating this virtual platform into classroom learning will allow Connecticut to continue to be a leader in innovation when it comes to how our students learn and access school,” Acting Commissioner of Education Charlene Russell-Tucker said.
The partnership is part of CSDE’s efforts to provide support to Elementary and Secondary School students who may need additional support post-COVID. The adoption of Defined Learning statewide will engage and expand equitable access to high-quality learning opportunities regardless of the learning environment.
The state of Tennessee also signed a similar statewide agreement for the upcoming school year. Many schools in Connecticut already use Defined Learning's project-based curriculum and have found success with their students.
"Within six years, I have utilized Defined Learning in two different districts to enhance and enrich STEM curriculum. Most recently, I utilized the platform as an anchor in the design of our transdisciplinary STEAM units to support one of our middle schools. It was so successful, we plan to create additional units for the next school year," explained Tina Henckel, Director of STEM Education at Norwalk Public Schools. "Their are a variety of creative options using Defined Learning. With the statewide partnership, we plan to expand the use of Defined Learning in our summer program to pilot a dual credit option. We also plan to engage with a cohort of high school teachers to become PBL microcredentialed through Defined Learning Academy. I am excited to see our future success using Defined Learning."
To ensure student outcomes are maximized, Defined Learning will deliver professional development for teachers on how to integrate the projects into their curriculum providing new opportunities for students to demonstrate mastery.
Research proves project-based learning increases student engagement, rigor, and test scores. With the implementation of Defined Learning in Connecticut, both teams hope to bridge the equity gap and cultivate essential skills preparing Connecticut students for the future.
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