Praxium’s Method is based on 1:1 Mentoring, Self-direction, Workshops, and Projects. Every student has a mentor teacher who meets with them one-on-one to support them, help them achieve their goals, and celebrate their successes. Self-direction helps students develop study skills, time management, collaboration, and other habits of success in a teacher-monitored environment.
Teachers lead workshops to provide instruction, assist students who need additional help, or provide enrichment for students already demonstrating mastery. Projects allow students to apply their learning to real-world problems. Projects are interdisciplinary and collaborative.
“You are not just being taught subjects; you are learning. The entire system teaches us how to problem-solve. The whole purpose is to get you out in the real world.”
— IDAHO MASTERY EDUCATION NETWORK STUDENT
In a traditional school and classroom, students progress primarily according to the calendar. This is commonly referred to as “seat time”—how much time students spend seated in a classroom. But credits and diplomas based on seat time—and sometimes barely passing grades—create mixed messages for students and families and is not the ideal way to ensure students gain the knowledge and skills that today’s world requires.
With mastery education, student progress is based upon a student’s demonstration of mastery of competencies and content, not seat time or the age or grade level of the student. Mastery-based learning at PRAXIUM focuses on educating the whole child—addressing their psychological, emotional, academic, and social needs.
Mastery-based education is nothing new to Idaho! In fact, Idaho is one of the very few states leading the nation with its approach, adoption, and implementation of mastery. Educators, legislators, and key stakeholders across the country are looking at Idaho as a model for how to collaboratively transition from a traditional education model to mastery education.
Beginning in 2012, and formalized in House Bill 110 passed by the Idaho Legislature during the 2015 session, the Idaho State Department of Education, under the leadership of Superintendent Sherri Ybarra, was directed to move Idaho toward a mastery education model.
Mastery education lets students advance as they master concepts and skills, regardless of their age or the time it takes to get there. With mastery education, the approach and pace in a classroom are designed to match each student’s unique personality, needs, and learning style. In contrast to traditional teaching models, teachers in mastery classrooms serve more as facilitators of learning than as instructors. Mastery education provides support to struggling students before they advance, thereby preventing further failure. Students receive almost constant feedback to show progress on learning targets, nurture awareness and understanding of one's own thought processes, and celebrate growth in real-time.
Mastery-based learning through PRAXIUM offers five key benefits to students:
Mastery education meets children where they are and lets them learn in ways that are best for them. It allows for more personalized, differentiated learning. Students in PRAXIUM classrooms greatly benefit from a personalized learning experience, receive assistance when needed, and advance—and graduate—with the skills necessary for future college and career success. Students don’t just learn the content expected. They also must learn and master competency skills and habits of mind that are essential to a person in the 21st century.
Students are never on their own in their learning but instead expected to own their own learning. Students can be self-paced, but still within a highly controlled environment. This means that while students have free choice, they don’t have free reign over their learning.
No, this is NOT an online school. Because students have flexibility in the progress of their learning, an online learning management system (LMS) is used to assist and track a student’s learning and application of skills. The LMS allows students, teachers and parents to view the progress of the student at any time.
Our teachers teach students all day. Teachers provide precise direct instruction, intervention, and enrichment to students. Teachers teach all students at all levels based on their needs rather than the curriculum pacing guide. Teachers are an integral part of the entire education experience, from leading projects to coaching students and guiding them through content in class. Instead of standing at the front of the classroom and providing direct instruction for an hour, a teacher may do several different activities depending on what their students need. They may teach content knowledge via direct instruction to the entire class, create small group workshops to help a group of students who have the same question or need, or provide targeted interventions 1-on-1 when a student has an issue with a subject.
This is a program for ALL students. Students from all walks of life, all learning levels, and all different circumstances have participated in this program with great gains.
A student will be held to a higher level of accountability than ever before in a traditional classroom. Unlike traditional classrooms where a student can move forward by doing the bare minimum, students cannot progress until mastery of the concept or skill is demonstrated.
Students spend the majority of their time working with their classmates and teachers on real-world projects in the classroom. They may access the learning management system (LMS) that is housed online to track their progress or understand their next checkpoint; then, they spend Project Time demonstrating the application of learning.
There is no set amount of screen time. Instead, students are empowered to use the Platform as a tool to support their learning, enabling them to access content in a way that meets their learning style and showing them their progress towards their goals.
Protecting student data privacy is the top priority for both PRAXIUM and our district. The learning management system that PRAXIUM uses, known as Summit Learning, is a signing member of the Future of Privacy Forum's Student Privacy Pledge. They also voluntarily comply with COPPA and has designed the LMS to be compliant with FERPA. Summit Learning has access only to a limited amount of student information that our school (or the student) shares with them, and Summit Learning only uses that information to improve the learning platform.
Self-direction is an essential skill for success in college, career, and life. At PRAXIUM, students are gradually given more control over their learning. This is not the same as being left on their own. With self-directed learning, students can move at their own pace and learn how they best learn because they have different options to learn the same information. Students are not pushed far ahead of what they are ready for, nor bored because they already know it.
Students have not only the support of their teachers but of a dedicated mentor who will work with them to help support and coach them toward their personal goals. During mentor time, teachers check in with students about their academic progress and provide coaching as students focus on mastering content knowledge to apply to projects. With mentoring and support of teachers, students develop the skills to set and achieve goals for their learning, becoming more engaged and more motivated.
PRAXIUM was developed to support diverse learners, and it is ideal for this because teachers are able to easily personalize the work that students are doing and the content they are working on. It is also built to allow teachers to provide the necessary scaffolds and interventions for any student. All students on IEPs and 504s are supported in accordance with their plans. Inclusion students receive instruction in the classroom which is led by co-teachers: a general education and a special education teacher. Students that require small group services outside the classroom receive direct instruction from their special education teacher during Project Time and/or PLT. This year, students on IEPs and 504s are also learning more about their plans, including what accommodations work best for them and how to advocate for themselves. Teachers have received extensive training and coaching in various intervention methods and accommodations. These interventions can be based on academics, behavior, and student focus and motivation. Teachers work together to monitor student progress and provide interventions as needed.