The Power and Possibility of Individualized Learning

On February 22 we presented a unique opportunity to discover how individualized learning can help make education more relevant for all students in our region: the Power and Possibility of Individualized Learning.

Our hope is that this event leaves attendees inspired by the potential of individualized learning, equipped with new ideas and strategies to incorporate it into their work, and better connected to others working to make education more relevant to all students.

The Power and Possibility of Individualized Learning

February 22, 2017
8:00 am – 2:00 pm

Muse Event Center
107 3rd Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55401

About the Event | Speakers | Pathway Sessions


About the Event


Education is critical to making our region better for everyone. Our education system should help all kids reach their full potential. We believe this requires a more individualized approach to learning, one that makes education more relevant for all students in terms of who they are, how they learn and what they want to do.

The guiding goal for the Bush Foundation’s Education initiative is to make our region the national leader in providing individualized education. So, we’re working to build and strengthen the network of folks across the region who believe in the Power and Possibility of Individualized Learning.

We hope this event will inspire, equip and connect people working to make individualized learning an essential part of the education system.

Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized authority on creativity and innovation, is one of several amazing speakers who will share insights on individualized learning gained through research and experience.

Our Pathway Sessions let you create the perfect mix of engaging workshops and discussions presented by researchers, practitioners and studentson the individualized learning experience. Whether you are already a champion or know very little, there should be something for you.

This event is the first in a series of gatherings and conversations the Bush Foundation will host on individualized learning. Sign up to receive our newsletter, and follow us on Facebook or Twitter to be among the first to hear about these and other opportunities. 

Also, watch for updates on a soon-to-be announced opportunity for schools to implement individualized learning.  

You can visit our Education page to learn more about our Education initiative and explore the different ways we invest in great ideas and the people who power them.

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Sir Ken RobinsonKeynote Speaker: Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson is an internationally recognized authority in creativity and innovation in education and business. He works with governments, international agencies, Fortune 500 companies and leading cultural organizations around the world.

Called “one of the world’s elite thinkers on creativity and innovation” by Fast Company magazine, Sir Ken has received numerous awards and recognitions for his groundbreaking contributions. His latest book, Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education (Viking, 2015), includes groundbreaking research and tackles the critical issue of how to transform the nation’s troubled educational system.


Julie MathiesenJulie Mathiesen, Director, TIE

Dr. Julie Mathiesen has been the Director at TIE since 2008. Previously she worked as an Education Technology Specialist for TIE. As its chief learner, she readily embraces the potential of technology and continually models effective applications for her colleagues. Prior to joining TIE, Julie taught art and biology at the high school level. In 2003, Julie earned a Bush Fellowship. She is a graduate of the Educational Technology doctoral program at Pepperdine University.



Jacob AllenJacob Allen, CEO and Co-Founder, PilotED Schools

Jacob Allen is the CEO & Co-Founder of PilotED Schools which prides itself in presenting “a new kind of elementary school” where students immerse themselves in a triumvirate of curricula that focus on sociological identity, academic excellence and civic engagement.

Jacob is a Teach For America alum who holds degrees and certifications from the University of Washington, UCLA and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He was awarded a prestigious Echoing Green Fellowship, NewSchools Venture Fund Fellowship and named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 List in 2017.



Jonathan JohnsonJonathan Johnson, Founder and CEO, Rooted Schools

Jonathan Johnson is the founder and CEO of Rooted SchoolOpening fall 2017 in New Orleans, Rooted envisions building a network of high schools with the shared goal of being the leading supplier of high school-aged talent to fast-growing, high-wage industries.

Jonathan began his career as a teacher and received national recognition as a finalist for the The New Teacher Project’s Fishman Prize. Jonathan was recently recognized as an Echoing Green Fellow and his work has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company and NPR and is supported by organizations like Camelback Ventures and NewSchools Venture Fund.


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Pathway Sessions

In an individualized learning environment, students and teachers collaborate to create unique learning pathways. Together, they compile supportive resources and relevant experiences that align with the individual student’s background, learning style and career aspiration.

At our event, there will be two Pathway Session blocks offering a wide range of workshops and discussions presented by researchers, practitioners and students who will share insights based on their individualized learning experience and expertise. We have presentations that help explain WHAT individualized learning looks like in practice, WHY it is being adopted by schools across the country and throughout the region and HOW they made it happen.

The Pathway Sessions will allow you to create a personalized learning path to explore the power and potential of individualized learning. Whether you are already a champion or know very little, there will be something for you.

When you register, you will be able to rank order your top two choices in both Pathway Session blocks. We’ll do our best to accommodate your pathway preferences to create a memorable individualized learning experience!

Personalized Pathways to Bright Futures

Impact Academy at Orchard Lake

Recommended for people who want to learn WHAT individualized learning looks like in practice.

Impact Academy at Orchard Lake Elementary, part of the Lakeville Area Public Schools, offers a unique program where a community of K-5 students and 7 teachers learn together. In this session, you’ll hear from students and teachers about their personalized learning environment and the ways they design a pathway of learning to maximize personal interests and talents. You’ll also have the opportunity to actively experience alongside them what learning looks and feels like in their innovative model.

Empowering Students, Exploring Passions

Avalon School

Recommended for people who want to learn WHAT individualized learning looks like in practice.

Learn about this nationally-recognized teacher powered 6th grade- 12th grade school that aspires to inspire active learning, engaged citizenship and hope for the future. In its sixteenth year, Avalon students learn through an innovative, project-based program designed to give both teachers and students voice and choice. In this session, you’ll join members of the Avalon community in exploring the ways their design thinking approach helps students move from their passions to meaningful work and academically, socially and civically engaging projects.

Inspiring Innovators and Nurturing Leaders

Venture Academies

Recommended for people who want to learn WHAT individualized learning looks like in practice.

Venture Academies endeavors to engage students and staff in the practice of innovative, entrepreneurial leadership by enabling students to take charge of their learning and to assume responsibility for their academic growth. Venture was in the first cohort of Next Generation Learning Challenges grant recipients and has been a part of the national conversation surrounding new models of teaching and learning. In this session, you’ll experience Venture’s exciting work by getting up close to the process of designing learning projects and pathways that can nurture standards-based learning while igniting personal leadership and passion.

Infusing Innovation, Blending Learning

Immaculate Conception School

Recommended for people who want to learn WHAT individualized learning looks like in practice.

With the support of the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), Immaculate Conception Catholic School of Columbia Heights became one of the first blended learning environments in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis’ Office of Catholic Schools. At Immaculate Conception, classrooms integrate online learning and computer-aided instruction with traditional teacher-led instruction to personalize the learning experience for each child. In this session, principal Jane Bona, teachers and IC students will guide you as you explore the school’s blended model, experiencing the ways it allows each students to work at their own pace and ability level.

Empowering Teachers, Enhancing the Profession

Impact Academy at Orchard Lake

Recommended for people who want to learn WHY schools adopt individualized learning.

A panel of teacher-leaders from the Lakeville Area Public Schools will describe the transformation process that led to an innovative, individualized school program and culture that is focused on future ready skills, personalized learning and service learning. Teachers will describe the “why” that guided them in their transformative work and reflect on the ways their schools transformation has changed the character of their work life and altered their aspirations for the impact of the teaching profession.


A New Model: Sociological Identity, Academic Excellence & Civic Engagement 


Recommended for people who want to learn WHY schools adopt individualized learning.

Jacob Allen, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of PilotED Schools and one of our opening speakers, invites participants into a more intimate discussion of the ways his experiences teaching and tutoring led him to the conviction that enabling students to discover more about their personal history and the history of others would allow them to change their outcomes. Jacob will share the ways that, grounded in that conviction, he and his team are building a comprehensive and cohesive school model in Chicago that infuses cultural relevance with a focus on academic achievement and civic engagement.

Providing Students Personal Pathways to Financial Freedom


Recommended for people who want to learn WHY schools adopt individualized learning.

Join one of our opening speakers, Founder and Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Johnson, as he describes the ways his personal experience and that of his students led to his focus on the career relevance dimension of individualized learning. As part of a small-group experience, Jonathan will discuss with participants the ways that focus helped write the inspiring story of the design and founding of Rooted School, a New Orleans charter high school grounded in a belief that financial freedom can have a rippling impact in dismantling the effects of poverty on a student’s life.

A Systems View of Supporting Technology and Innovation in Education


Recommended for people who want to learn HOW schools implement individualized learning.

Julie Mathiesen, one of our opening speakers and Director at Technology and Innovation in Education (TIE), will share her reflections on her and her team’s work provoking and supporting systemic innovation efforts in South Dakota. Julie will talk with a small group about the core lessons from TIE’s efforts to transform the South Dakota education landscape by providing professional development and customized support schools and teachers need in order to effectively explore and implement innovative and effective individualized pedagogical strategies in support of student learning.

Supporting Innovators and Nurturing Innovation


Recommended for people who want to learn HOW schools implement individualized learning.

2 Revolutions is a national education design lab striving to transform the American education system that works with leaders and practitioners within K12 and Higher Education to design, build and implement new learning models and help catalyze the enabling systems that prepare students for success in the future. Join the 2Revolutions team, who will lead the Bush Foundation’s individualized learning design phase starting later this spring, as they reflect on their experiences supporting individual school teams and large school systems as they transform in the direction of individualized learning.


Venture Summit Partnership

Recommended for people who want to learn HOW schools implement individualized learning.

To support the realization of its individualized model, Venture Academies worked in partnership with Summit Public Schools. The combination of an innovative model based in student needs and the support of the pioneering tools created by the Summit network allows teachers at Venture to customize instruction and to build strong relationships with students. Through a case study design, this session explores the ways effective individualized schools thoughtfully employ appropriate technologies and tools to support the implementation of their model.


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