Dallas ISD: Sharing the “what, why, and how” of personalized professional learning

by Kristen Watkins and Jason Broussard; March 28, 2019


When our district’s personalized learning journey began back in the fall of 2013, we relied heavily on the pioneers who came before us. In those early years, we spent countless hours on phone calls, Google Hangouts, and school visits trying to make sense of what personalized learning is and is not. In our short five years, one of the greatest lessons we’ve learned is that none of us are going to get any closer to true personalization if we don’t lean on and leverage the work of others. For us, this means being committed to sharing not just resources but the successes and struggles that come with implementing personalized learning in a large urban school district.

That’s why when The Learning Accelerator released the Learning Commons in 2018, a shared space for connecting and accelerating educator learning, we were excited to test it out. Over the past year, we’ve leveraged the Learning Commons to help us differentiate within workshops and to share resources with other partners across the nation.

We quickly realized this tool would help us package content in a sharable format and still control the sequence in which resources were shared. Last April, we leveraged the Learning Commons during a session about purposeful and personalized professional development strategies at the Blended and Personalized Learning Conference. One of the goals we were hoping to accomplish during this session was for participants to not only learn about how we personalize PD but to experience it too. Through the playlist feature, we were able to control the progression of learning by sharing first the “why” and “what” of the tool (example here), then allowing for participants to explore videos that shared “how” we’ve used the tool.


We’re ramping up for the next Blended and Personalized Learning Conference and are excited to leverage the Learning Commons again to help us continue to share more of the “how” and access our district resources like the PL Toolbox. As the work continues to grow within our own district, we are also interested in using the Learning Commons to help us onboard new leaders and teachers to personalized learning.

Curious about our past conference playlists? Check them out:


Kristen Watkins is the Director of Personalized Learning at Dallas Independent School District, where she leads efforts to move towards scale, sustainability, and fidelity of implementation of PL districtwide.


Jason Broussard is the Manager of Personalized Learning Campus Coaching at Dallas Independent School District, where he primarily focuses on coaching and developing school leaders and instructional coaches to support teachers moving towards personalized learning.