PL_State Landscape_NC_Lake Wylie Case Study

Lake Wylie Elementary School’s K-1 Combination Class

Dante Samuel didn’t have an easy start in life.

He was born 16 weeks premature and spent the first four months of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit. 

By age 5, Dante struggled with communicating, had overall cognitive and social functioning issues, and lacked important pre-academic skills. Dante was diagnosed as developmentally delayed. In many educational settings, Dante’s unique gifts and strengths may go unrecognized. Though he is eager, and a good role model for his peers, many people often focus on his challenges. A student like Dante may be separated from peers, retained, and held back by lower expectations. But luckily for Dante, his school, Lake Wylie Elementary in Charlotte, North Carolina, is taking part in a personalized learning initiative—an effort in the Charlotte–Mecklenburg Schools that aims to address each student’s needs.

The Vision: To provide an educational environment that prioritizes “maximizing achievement in a personalized 21st century learning environment for every child” and “inspiring and nurturing learning, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship through technology and strategic school redesign.”

The Strategy: Lake Wylie Elementary uses an inclusive K–1 combination class as one way to address the needs of all students through their whole-child model. With two teachers in the classroom, all students’ individual learning goals are examined and different instructional paths are designed to achieve those goals.This inclusive learning environment has yielded substantial learning gains for Dante: He made 17 points of growth on the Math MAP test and 13 points of growth on the Reading MAP test. He is living up to the high expectations his family and educators hold him to.

Inclusion is a key tenet of our nation’s special education law, but it can be challenging for schools to effectively educate students with disabilities alongside their peers. Personalized learning offers an approach that honors inclusion while addressing each student’s unique needs.

Learn more about the Lake Wylie Elementary School’s K-1 Combination Class and how it’s helping student like Dante:

Download PDF of “Lake Wylie Elementary School’s K-1 Combination Class”