LSS Pioneers A Journey Towards Competency Based Education

Throughout the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years, a team of approximately 25 teachers met periodically to investigate how to implement Competency Based Education into regular practice at Linclon Street School. These meetings met on a district and school basis on separate occasions. Rose Colby, a national authority on the subject, acted as our guide. We call this group of early adopters The Lincoln Street School Pioneers.

The Action Plan

Building administrators and teachers met to create and coordinate an action plan specifically for Lincon Street School.

Visioning: Who is Your Graduate

Part of explaining competency based education to staff, parents, and the community involves polling them to determine what they want out of their educational system and creating an understanding that we all recognize that high school graduates are required to have a different skill set now than ever before. The Ted Talk from Sir Ken Robinson below helps to explain this changing education paradigm.

District Level Visioning

The results of this visioning process for Exeter Elementary Schools can be seen below.

SAU 16 Competency Based Education Statement

A group of representatives from across all towns in the SAU including school board members, teachers and administrators came together to craft this statement based on the input provided by the district communities. Below is the outcome:

Each SAU 16 graduate demonstrates engaged learning and citizenship through the ability to solve problems independently and collaboratively with perseverance and resilience, and communicates solutions with confidence and empathy.

Each team of grade level pioneers immediately began plotting their approach to infusing the skills from the guiding principals identified in the chart above. With Rose's guidance, a focus on project based learning was determined as being the best leverage point to make this fist step.

Why Project Based Learning?

The experience of thousands of teachers across all grade levels and subject areas, backed by research, confirms that PBL is an effective and enjoyable way to learn - and develop deeper learning competencies required for success in college, career, and civic life.

Project based learning addresses the vision the Exeter community has expressed it wants for its graduates.

Research has shown that students learn content as well or better using PBL than with traditional instruction. It also shows that students remember what they have learned longer and are better able to use what they have learned. PBL provides the opportunity to learn and practice skills that traditional instruction often ignores -- working in groups, making choices, monitoring progress, thinking deeply about a problem or challenge, and communicating what has been learned. In short, PBL helps students not only learn content but also the 21st-century skills they will need to thrive in a quickly changing, globally connected world."

The Planning Process: This is Our Project Based Learning!

5th Grade Flow Chart
3rd, 4th and 5th grade planning in action.

Third Grade PBL 2017

Third grade Pioneers planned for students to explore where our food comes from and how our geography affects what we eat. This project will begin in the spring of 2017.

Fourth Grade PBL 2017

Fourth grade Pioneers planned for students to explore the state of New Hampshire through the design of a "Staycation". This project will begin in the spring of 2017

Fifth Grade PBL 2017

Fifth grade Pioneers planned for students to "Make A Difference". They identified areas of concern in their community and designed plans that make a positive impact. They have communicated their work through slide shows. Some classrooms have finished this unit, and the results can be seen below.

Make A Difference Outcomes:

Make A Difference Example 1

Make A Difference Example 2


Once more students and parents have more experience in this type of instruction, please come back for more examples and surveys of PBL in action.


Created with images by Bluesnap - "pioneer statue statue bronze"

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