Jonathan G. Vander Els

Jonathan G. Vander Els is the director of innovative projects at the New Hampshire Learning Initiative, a foundation created to serve as a catalyst for innovation in education in New Hampshire. He was formerly the principal of Memorial Elementary School in the Sanborn Regional School District.

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Shifting Gears To Competency-Based Learning Through PLCs at Work™

Categories: Assessment

“Once you learn, you never forget.” We have all heard that statement as it relates to riding a bicycle, and any of us who has ever taught a child to ride a bike know that for most children, this learning process requires time, patience, and perseverance. Riding a bike isn’t easy. Children are required to transfer their learning of a number of different skills (pedaling, balancing, steering, turning, and stopping, for example) and eventually put these distinct skills together to be a successful bike rider. For those of us in a position to provide the support and guidance, we find ourselves constantly providing feedback, with the ultimate goal of helping the child learn how to ride a bike safely and successfully, recognizing that they had to start somewhere. Read more

PLC as a school's foundation

Professional Learning Communities as the Foundation of a Competency-Based Educational System

Categories: PLC

The commitment of our district, the Sanborn Regional School District in New Hampshire, to build highly functioning Professional Learning Communities within each school has been the driving force behind the significant changes that have taken place in Sanborn over the past five-plus years. Professional Learning Communities are the foundation for any of the work we have been engaged in during this time. Our success in implementing a competency-based educational system within our district is evidence of this PLC work, and would not be as successful without our interdependent teams working together as they have.

At Sanborn, we have applied the 4 Critical Questions for Consideration to guide our work around competencies within our schools.  Throughout our journey, these four questions have assisted us in ensuring we are providing appropriate and meaningful opportunities for all of our students to demonstrate competency.

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