Building State Leadership Team Capacity for Personalized, Competency-Based Learning

Utah State Board of Education

Utah State Board of Education

Building State Leadership Team Capacity for Personalized, Competency-Based Learning

Oversees 1,075 public schools in 130 LEAs
Reaches over 675,000 students across grades K-12 in the state of Utah.


Leadership coaching, Learning Walks, Personalized Learning Pathway, Asynchronous Learning Resources, State-level Capacity Building.


The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) partnered with Learner-Centered Collaborative to build capacity and enable USBE specialists and coordinators to support implementation of the state’s Personalized, Competency-Based Learning (PCBL) framework, a learning model that includes 5 components necessary to nurture learner-centered outcomes as defined in the state’s Portrait of a Graduate. Together, the framework and Portrait of a Graduate help Utah’s learning community, from the state system all the way to the classroom, navigate learners to a future where they can succeed and lead.


USBE recognized that one first step toward implementing PCBL practices throughout the state was to infuse them in their professional learning. The state partnered with Learner-Centered Collaborative to offer virtual and in-person professional learning sessions to 140 state-level leaders. These sessions were designed to model and simulate PCBL strategies in their professional learning, align on implementation approaches, and explore authentic examples in classrooms. This collaborative space, led by Learner-Centered Collaborative, also helped build alignment and trust among leadership as it brought together separate departments, often for the first time, providing greater visibility of work across districts and the state.

Learner-Centered Collaborative also led on-site Learning Walks for the 140 state-level leaders in the PCBL working group to see and experience real examples of PCBL in the classroom. These non-evaluative observations were supported by this “look for” tool that helped team members identify PCBL elements in action.

This partnership offered two opt-in Pathways for Educator courses, a Learner Agency pathway and a Demonstrated Competency & Assessment pathway, open to all teachers in the state. Designed to further support and enable educators to implement PCBL, the sessions, led by Learner-Centered Collaborative, explored ways to build learner agency, demonstrate competency, and align assessment to desired outcomes, all while encouraging educators to test learning experiences that implement PCBL in the classroom and build portfolios reflecting on these experiences.

Moving forward, USBE and Learner-Centered Collaborative will continue to work together to further align student and teacher assessment measures with their vision for learning. Learner-Centered Collaborative also continues to serve as consultants to improve PCBL outcomes across other departments, including in adult education, gifted and talented programs, and the Humanitarian Center for Refugee Work. In January 2023, Learner-Centered Collaborative CIO Katie Martin will be keynoting The Magellan Summit, a first of its kind learner-centered conference for Utah Educators and Leaders.


  • Led over 70 professional learning workshops for 140 USBE leaders.
  • 91% commitment from workshop participants to infuse PCBL in professional learning sessions in the next year.
  • Session participants reported increased confidence exploring and supporting PCBL in Utah LEAs.
  • Led two 5-session Pathways for Educators courses with over 40 participants.
  • Educators experienced PCBL firsthand, embraced cross-school collaboration, and tested their learning in real-time.
  • Professional development aligned to goals is underway.
  • Held Learning Walks at 4 sites that won Utah’s recognition for innovative learning experiences.
  • Tested over 90 PCBL strategies in Utah classrooms.

For too long we’ve been sending teachers home tired, and students home bored.

When we provide learners with agency, voice, and choice, they take ownership of their learning. This creates intrinsically motivated students who are self-directed, engaged, and invested.

– Michael Hakkarinen, Digital Teaching, Learning & PCBL Specialist, Utah State Board of Education

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