What is Personalized Learning?
Personalized Learning is a process where education options are tailored to the learning style and needs of individual learners. This approach is the foundation of Dallas Community School. We reject the idea of a “one size fits all” education and believe that modern, successful learners require a personalized approach. Dallas Community School students and their parents work with an Educational Guide (a licensed teacher) to develop a Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) that reflects their individual learning style. Once the PLP is developed, Dallas Community School then connects the student to resources that are aligned to the Personalized Learning Plan.
Is this a private school?
Dallas Community School is a public charter school. This means that families pay no tuition because the school is funded by public funds, but is operated independently of the local public schools. The funds are funneled from the state of Oregon to Dallas School District and then to Dallas Community School. As a charter school, we are free to develop a new approach to education, which allows us to offer a program that meets the needs of nontraditional learners. Students who enroll at DCS are part of a public school. They cannot be dual-enrolled in another public school and are not registered as homeschoolers with their local Education Service District, even though students are home learners (with support from DCS). Dallas Community School is operated as a program of Community Innovation Partners, which is a nonprofit, grassroots organization that is based in Dallas. Community Innovation Partners was created in 2013 by parents who wanted a different approach to education.
Do I have to pay tuition?
No. Dallas Community School is a public charter school, so we do not charge tuition.
What kinds of services do you offer?
- Support for learners: Our Education Guides will work with you and your child to develop a Personalized Learning Plan that meets the interests, learning profile, and developmental needs of your child. You will work with the Guide to identify curriculum and experiences that fit with your child’s learning style. Your Guide will connect you with community-based learning options. The School will pay for these resources, up to a specific dollar amount.
- On-site & online classes: Students have access to some excellent, optional multi-age classes that take place at the Dallas Community School site or online. These include science, history, art, music, robotics, language arts, math, and many other options that fit the needs of different students. Students enrolled in on-site classes are expected to be ready to participate and must meet age and academic prerequisites as well as our community behavior standards. Although we have course options for all ages from 8:30 to 3:30 Monday through Friday, families should not assume that students will be able to attend classes all day, every day. Some class options are not interesting to or appropriate for certain students, and some classes may fill up quickly and be unavailable when a parent tries to register.
- Community-based learning: Students have opportunities to learn within their community via trips to local museums, field trips, project-based learning, enrichment classes, lessons, workshops, and other community-based activities that are arranged by the school.
If I enroll my child, do we have to use your curriculum?
Your assigned Education Guide will work with you to identify a curriculum, tools, and methods that best suit the needs and abilities of your child. Because we are a public school, curriculum needs to meet specific guidelines. There are literally hundreds of options and variations available. Remember, the whole point of our school is to develop a plan that is best for your child. Some kids might be able to accomplish their learning goals entirely through community-based education, while others might appreciate workbooks and print materials. Other students might require online options. Again, your Education Guide will work with you to develop a plan that works. All materials purchased with school allotment funds must be secular (free of religious instruction) and meet learning standards but families can use other types of curricula in their home learning. However, parents have the choice to use their own funds to purchase and use religious curriculum.
How do I pay for curriculum and other services?
Each student is given access to a Learning Allotment Fund. The Learning Fund is a financial allotment for each student that is used to pay for curriculum, experiences, enrichment, and supplies. Your Education Guide will work with you and your child to develop a Personalized Learning Plan (PLP). Items in the PLP are paid for using the student’s Learning Fund allotment. These can include books, lessons or classes, educational games and materials, and other items. All items purchased using Learning Fund allotments must be paid for by Dallas Community School. Purchases are made through reimbursement or by filling out a Materials Request form, and then the School carries out the order purchasing and fulfillment.
Can the School pay for services that are not part of my child’s Personalized Learning Plan?
No. We can only pay for services that are part of your PLP.
Who is responsible for educating my children?
By participating in a personalized learning school, you are committing to taking responsibility for facilitating the education of your child. We are here to coach you and provide guidance, resources, and support. Our Education Guides will meet with you and your child to help you along the way. But ultimately, it is up to you and your child to implement the Personalized Learning Plan (PLP). This means that you are committed to ensuring that your child is engaged in meaningful learning as it is described in the PLP. DCS has a lot of excellent classes, both online and onsite in Dallas (Monday through Thursday) and some offsite classes in Dallas and other locations, but all classes are optional and we are not an “all-day, everyday” option for most students. Even if students are taking many or most of our onsite classes during the week, our model still requires parents (Learning Coaches) to help students do lots of reading and writing, and get through some kind of sequential math curriculum to make sure they are getting their math skills built up and scaffolded appropriately each year.
What is the commitment?
In exchange for the benefits of joining DCS, all Dallas Community School students and Learning Coaches make a significant commitment to their education by joining DCS. This commitment includes:
- Parents/guardians are primarily responsible for educating their children with support from the school. Transportation to the school site is not provided. Child care at the school site is not provided. All students who are on-site must be enrolled in a class or activity.
- All curriculum and materials purchased by the school and used for school purposes must be secular (non-religious).
- Students and Learning Coaches (parent/guardian) are required to meet once every two weeks with their assigned Education Guide. There are no exceptions other than verifiable emergency or illness.
- Students must participate in learning activities daily, Monday-Friday, with the exception of holidays, vacation days, and excused absences. Learning Coaches (parent/guardian) must submit an attendance record that is provided by DCS and complete regular check-ins.
- Students attending DCS-sponsored classes and field trips are expected to be able to adhere to behavior expectations, age requirements, and course requirements. All students should be ready to fully participate in course activities.
- Students in grades 3 and up are expected to participate in end-of-year assessments as part of our learning community’s agreement with Dallas School District. Opt-out forms are available, but all students are strongly encouraged to participate in assessments in a way that respects the individual student.
- All students are required to keep work samples as outlined in the student’s Personalized Learning Plan.
- Learning Coaches must complete all required paperwork prior to the start of school.
- Families living outside the DCS service area (Polk, Marion, Yamhill, Benton, and Linn counties) will be required to travel to the DCS service area to meet with the Education Guide.
How do you handle special education/IEPs?
Special education services are provided by Dallas School District in coordination with DCS. These include IEP meetings, speech therapy, and other services. Students requiring in-person services will receive those services in Dallas. Please contact us for more information.
Where are you located?
Currently, we are located at 124 SW Walnut Ave. in Dallas, OR. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (503) 420-4360 if you would like to arrange a visit.
When/how do I enroll my child?
We hold a lottery each May. Please see our admissions page for details.
I don’t live in Dallas/Dallas School District. Can I still enroll my child?
Enrollment is open to all students enter grades K-8. Living within the Dallas School District is not a requirement. However, if the number of interested students is greater than the number of spaces available, students will be selected via lottery. Returning students are always guaranteed a space and their siblings are guaranteed first priority. Students living in Dallas School District are given second priority, and students residing outside the district are third on the priority list.
How can I get involved?
Great question! We are in need of board members, committee members, and other individuals who are interested in shaping the future of our school. Get in touch with us at email@example.com.