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Here is information about schools that are well into the process of reinventing themselves.  I invite anyone to provide information about any other learner-centered schools you know of.  Features of learner-centered schools can be found in my book, Reinventing Schools, and include:  


  1. Attainment-based student progress, tests, and student records

  2. Learner-centered instruction that is personalized, project-based, and collaborative, and has customized instructional support

  3. Expanded curriculum that includes 21st century curriculum and addresses all aspects of human development, including social, emotional, and artistic/creative

  4. New roles for teachers (guide on the side), students (self-directed learner), parents (partners in learning), and technology and other learning resources (to support students, not just teachers)

  5. A nurturing school culture that includes small school size, strong relationships, multi-year mentoring, multi-age grouping of students, enjoyable learning, teacher learning, and family services

  6. Organizational structures such as schools run by teachers, with learning centers, choice for students and teachers, administrative and governance structures that are supporting rather than controling, and based on a learning cooperative model.


Appendix A of Reinventing Schools lists many schools that are well into reinventing.  The companion book, Vision and Actionalso lists many more such schools in its Appendix B.  Please send me any information you have about schools that are adopting such features to this email to post here with credit for your contribution. 

A survey study that identified over a hundred learner-centered schools


A case study that describes in depth the Minnesota New Country School


A multiple case study that described in depth four schools that have adopted various features of a learner-centered school

Survey Study


Lee, D., Huh, Y., Lin, C-Y., Reigeluth, C.M., & Lee, E.  (2021).  Differences in personalized learning practice and technology use in high- and low-performing learner-centered schools in the United States.  Educational Technology Research and Development, 69, 1221–1245.   PDF


The Every Student Succeeds Act supports personalized learning (PL) to close achievement gaps of diverse K-12 learners in the United States. Implementing PL into a classroom entails a paradigm change of the educational system. However, it is demanding to transform traditional practice into a personalized one under the pressure of the annual standardized testing while it is unclear which PL approaches are more likely to result in better academic outcomes than others. Using national survey data of ELA teachers in identified learner-centered schools, this study compared high and low-performing learner-centered schools (determined by their standardized test results) in terms of their use of five PL features (personalized learning plan, competency-based student progress, criterion-referenced assessment, project- or problem-based learning, and multi-year mentoring) and their use of technology for the four functions of planning, learning, assessment, and recordkeeping.

Generally, teachers in high-performing schools implemented PL more thoroughly and utilized technology for more functions than those in low-performing schools. Teachers in high-performing schools more frequently considered career goals when creating personal learning plans, shared the project outcomes with the community, and assessed non-academic outcomes. They stayed longer with the same students and developed close relationships with more students. Also, they more frequently used technology for sharing resources and reported having a more powerful technology system than those in low-performing schools. This study informs educators, administrators, and researchers of which PL approaches and technology uses are more likely to result in better academic outcomes measured by standardized assessments.

Case Study:

The Minnesota New Country School


Aslan, Sinem (2012).  Investigating "The Coolest School in America": A Study of a Learner-Centered School and Technology in the Information Age. Doctoral dissertation, Indiana University at Bloomington.  (301 pages)      PDF


The primary purpose of this study was to improve existing design theories for characteristics of an information-age school and roles that educational technology should serve for key stakeholders in such schools. In addition to this primary purpose, this study explored how learner-centered instruction and assessment were implemented in an information-age school. The formative research method (Reigeluth & Frick, 1999; Reigeluth & An, 2009) was used in a holistic single case study. 


The case selected was the Minnesota New Country School (MNCS), which was identified as incorporating the information-age paradigm most completely among other schools investigated (Richter & Reigeluth, 2010). All 10 advisors (a role similar to teachers) and 24 of the 36 junior and senior students participated in the study. Additionally, Doug Thomas (co-founder of MNCS and executive director of EdVisions Schools), Ronald Newell (a founding member of MNCS, Learning Program Director, and Director of Evaluation for EdVisions Schools), and Dee Grover-Thomas, (school principal and an advisor at MNCS), were involved in this study for an administrator’s perspective. Multiple mixed methods for data collection were used, including a focus group interview with the advisors, two individual interviews with the advisors and administrators, observations of the advisors and students, and online surveys taken by the students. Augmentative data were also gathered from the educational technology systems used at the school and school documents emerged during data collection. Descriptive statistics, thematic analysis, and content analysis were used to analyze the data.


The findings revealed the key characteristics of the MNCS as well as student learning and indicators of student success along with critical success factors. They also showed the roles of the advisors, parents, and students in the learning process. In addition, the findings identified school activities, planning for student learning, and the implementation of learner-centered instruction and assessment. Finally, the findings outlined the functions of the major educational technology system (Project Foundry) used in the school and showed how the key stakeholders used it and what suggestions they had for improvement. Discussion of these findings outlined tentative revisions to the design theories investigated in this study using the formative research method. 

A Multiple Case Study


Dutta, Pratima (2013).  Personalized Integrated Educational Systems (PIES) for the Learner-Centered Information-Age Paradigm of Education: A Study to Improve the Design of the Function and Features of PIES. Doctoral Dissertation, Indiana University at Bloomington.  PDF



The Personalized Integrated Educational System (PIES) design theory is a design recommendation regarding the function and features of Learning Managements Systems (LMS) that can support the information-age learner-centered paradigm of education. The purpose of this study was to improve the proposed functions and features of the PIES design theory such that it is compatible with the technological needs of the information-age, learner-centered paradigm of education. Four schools or educational systems that embody some of the characteristics of the learner-centered, information-age paradigm were selected through a purposeful and theoretical sampling process. They were selected based on how useful they would be in extending and improving the design recommendations for PIES and the extent to which the naturalistic cases had transitioned into the learner-centered, information-age paradigm of education. Research participants within these schools were chosen through a non-probability sampling method. Twenty teachers agreed to participate and were interviewed and observed. Data collected in the form of interview transcripts and observation notes were analyzed to reveal functions and features that could be added and removed from the PIES design theory. Data were analyzed to also reveal factors that encouraged/discouraged technology use, implementation, and policy. 

Schools that Are Reinventing

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