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Lindsay Unified: performance-based system

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(upbeat music) - In Lindsay, performance-based learning is really, kids can really start to learn at their own pace. Most kids tend to feel they have to stay at pace with other kids even if they're behind, but in a performance-based system, kids can really excel at their learning and just go as far as they want. I mean, a sixth grader could be at eighth grade content or even high school. It really just lets you learn at any pace you want. - In the district, we're about 62% English learners, almost 100% free and reduced lunch and so these are kids that a lot of our learners are coming out of poverty. They're coming out of homes where in this community it's about a fifth grade learning level from our parents so they're not going home to parents that can necessarily even help them get the support they need to do the homework that they have. - I've been in the district for 16 years so I've had the unique experience of getting to work for Lindsay Unified in a traditional system, to sit on some committees to talk about a transition to PBS and then to be a part of the performance-based system as well. Plus, I'm a community member. I was born in Lindsay and I graduated from Lindsay High School in a traditional system. Our town and our surrounding area, we're poor. The majority of the people in our area are agricultural workers and in fact, I come from an agricultural background. Both of my parents worked in ag so economics here are tough which often means that as a learner you have to go to work before you come to school. So it comes with a lot of stress. But I think what PBS has done is it has allowed our learners, no matter what their background, no matter what their language issues might be, no matter what is happening at home, no matter what their learning disabilities might be, we have multiple forms of assessment, we are non-time-based so our learners can show proficiency when they get to that point. It has allowed them to find ways to be successful with their learning. - Having the students be in charge of their learning and that whole concept that the students learns through different mediums and different speeds is the main reason why I came back to the school. I've moved a total of 13 times to schools from all around the county and I have literally, well, not literally, I didn't fight anyone, but I fought my way to come here because they had the performance-based system here. So as I've said, I've moved so many times across the whole county, with all the instability in my life, I naturally gravitate towards the one thing that is stable and that is constant and it is this school and how much this performance-based system actually works. It's not just something good to hear about from a student's perspective, it's completely like life changing to be in this school in a sense. - So to ensure that we had an effective system, we needed to make sure that kids would experience from T6 through 12 a system that would never waver whether or not their family had to move two blocks down the road and go to another learning community or whether or not they came back and ended up at a different learning community, we made it important and we thought it was important enough to know that in all of our six K through eights, we are all going to do this together. We all need the support to do this together. Our kids need us to have the same fluid experience at every single K8 that they go, not just at one site that might be willing to pilot something. This isn't about a pilot. This is what we know is best for kids. This is what our community is telling us is best for kids and so this isn't about one school doing this. This is about our entire district and all of us together as a group going after something that we know is best for our learners. - When I take control of my learning, I take control basically of my life 'cause I get to move on on what I want. - And so it's not about us providing them the tools. It's not about us providing them the assignments. It's more about them going after it and telling us, "This is what I need from you, this is the support "that I need from you." - Yes, we do traditional things like lesson planning because we need to be prepared for our kiddos. But every moment that I'm with them is a coaching moment. It's not so much about hey, I need to get this curriculum done, it's about teaching a person. And for me to be able to reach them, I have to be able to be flexible, I have to be able to learn on my feet and what a great model for my kids, for them to see that in the moment, it's OK for me to say, "You know what? "We're gonna figure out another way." The biggest changes I've seen in learners across the board is the idea of a growth mindset. We don't give up. Just because something is difficult doesn't mean it's not attainable and we also in Lindsay Unified, we don't believe in failure. Failure is not a word. There's no F on our report cards. If we don't meet proficiency, it's just another opportunity to learn and to learn in a new way so all of our kids feel success because of that. - And the support level is just absolutely amazing. It's almost like a safety net that when you fall it picks you back up and helps you put you back on pace and I personally am surprised at how far this school has gotten me and the help I've gotten and just really blows myself away. - Since no one in my family has been to college or even graduated high school, it's like a big deal for the PBS system and how they help me with exposing me to what is out there so not just on the field trips we are starting to take that connect to what our options are once we get out of high school, but also how to fill out an actual college application and that makes me actually feel proud for my family since they work from the fields and they always tell me every single day that they get from work that every single orange is for another scholarship I can get. - We are making a significant impact here in Lindsay. We are changing the culture of the way we think about education and learning and what I'm constantly reminded of is kids telling me about opportunities or places that they came from where it wasn't like this. And so I'm constantly reflecting on well, how do we help other people learn just how powerful our kids are. They have the voice if we empower them. They have the grit and the persistence to get through anything that we place in front of them. They have the desire to do so much in life and so how do we share that, how do we just give people a glimmer of what's happening with our kids, in their lives and in their education so that everybody can start to see it and shift down that road to empower our kids.