Personalized Learning in the Middle Grades

Personalized Learning in the Middle Grades

Personalized Learning in the Middle Grades shows how teachers in grades 5–8 can leverage the use of personalized learning plans (PLPs) to increase student agency and engagement, helping youth to establish learning goals aligned with their interests and assess their own learning—particularly around essential skills that cut across disciplines. More

Drawing on our their and work with fifty schools in Vermont, where PLPs are used statewide, the authors show how personalized learning aligns with effective middle grades practice and provide in-depth examples of how educators have implemented PLPs in a wide range of schools representing different demographics and grade configurations. They also highlight five critical roles for teachers in personalized learning environments—as empowerer, scaffolder, scout, assessor, and community builder—and illustrate how teachers can adapt the PLP process for their own unique contexts.

Grounded in experience and full of engaging examples, artifacts, and tools, the book builds on the emerging field of personalized learning and connects it with the developmental needs of middle schoolers to provide a unique and valuable resource for individual classroom teachers, teacher teams, school leaders, teacher‐educators, and others.


This book blends theory with practice, weaves what we know about young adolescents and best practices in middle grades, and gives specific, detailed descriptions of every aspect needed to implement personalized learning. Personalized Learning in the Middle Grades provides theory, tools, examples, and insights to develop an exemplary middle school. As a middle grades advocate, I love how this book details how we can meet the needs of young adolescents using this practice.

Nancy Ruppert, professor and chair, Department of Education, University of North Carolina, Asheville, and past president, Association for Middle Level Education

Personalized Learning in the Middle Grades is a must-have guide for anyone wishing to implement or improve personalized learning in the school or classroom. It is chock-full of vignettes, research-based rationales, and practical how-tos that give middle level educators a clear picture of personalized learning as well as the tools and strategies needed to create a student-centered culture that fosters academic learning and personal growth in the best way possible.

 — Patti Kinney, National Middle Level Principal of the Year, and past president, Association for Middle Level Education


July 17, 2019: Vermont Edition, How Vermont Schools are Incorporating Personalized Learning

July 18, 2019: Edutopia Post, Collaboration in Personalized Learning

Find the book at your local, independent bookstore or online at Harvard Ed Press, where you can also read the introduction and table of contents.