To preface, my current charter school is housed within a shelter in which families come to escape their unsafe domestic situation.  The class roster consists of Kindergarten through 5th grade all within one classroom with one teacher (myself), instructional aid, behavior specialist, and part-time SPED/interventionist.  The plan below is a tentative outline of how it could be implemented at this school as long as the charter organization and shelter directors are in agreement. I believe PBL could be a catalyst in helping our students find joy in learning, solve issues that could distract from their own, develop a sense of self-efficacy, and hopefully (in the future) stop the cycle of abuse through education one learner at a time.

I am proposing a Project-based learning implementation for all core content. The following outline represents the first steps in developing a campus-wide plan for a blended learning environment in which PBL sets the stage for learners to engage in real world problems/solutions as well as a personalized learning path through online resources. Extensive research has proven the effectiveness PBL has in engaging learner agency, motivation, and voice. When learners engage in meaningful projects that connect them to real world experiences, it develops their self-efficacy. Consideration should be taken into account for how this will affect the master schedule, uncertain classroom roster,  and other restraints that could affect future implementation. I am counting on administration buy-in. To further inspire implementing this plan, visit Innovative Implementation.

The following plan is based on a 12 month plan beginning July 2019-June 2020

Phase 1, Planning & Training

I.  July 2019: Form Implementation Team consisting of myself (K-5th grade teacher), Instructional Aid, SPED/interventionist, the shelter’s school manager, the shelter’s program directors, and campus administration for individual classroom PBL implementation. (Campus/shelter name withheld due to safety reasons)

  • Determine goals for PBL initiative
  • Develop Mission and Vision
    • Understand our “why?”
    • Craft message to “sell” campus administration and shelter directors
    • Unify and align the vision of the charter school and shelter
  • Anticipate questions and concerns from administration, board, and staff
    • Questions about PBL effectiveness
    • Questions about initial and ongoing costs
    • Develop a budget for initial costs
    • Determine capability of technology components
    • Develop list of technology recommendations for implementing an effective blended learning environment that aligns with PBL goals.

II. Fall 2019: Enlist Support From District Administration, Board of Directors, Shelter Directors, and Community Members

  • September 2019: Communicate new plans to community
    • What is PBL
    • Why it works
  • Ongoing: Enlist donors from community
  • Ongoing: Write grants for technology upgrades, involve shelter staff in writing grants and fundraising.

III.  Train Core Content Teachers in Current PBL Focus and Blended Learning Initiative

  • Identify staff that need to be trained
    • Ongoing Professional Development in PBL for K-5th teacher (myself) as well as supportive staff
  • Establish training timeline
    • June 2019 for first training
    • July 2019 for refresher training
    • End of July, Early August 2019 planning
  • Enlist currently trained teachers to help

IV. November 2019: Launch Core Content PBL Implementation

Phase 2, Support

V. 2019-2020 School Year: Ongoing Training During PBL Launch

  • Provide new PBL teacher and staff with in-class support
    • Schedule for current teachers to observe other PBL campuses
    • Current teacher seeks seasoned PBL teachers from other campuses to offer critique and support for our campus team
  • Provide planning time during year for teachers to design projects
    • Teacher work days for planning units
    • Coordinate across disciplines
  • Consider school-wide training of PBL protocols for students

VI. Technology Support

  • Invest in technology for PBL implementation in classroom
  • Continue to upgrade internet bandwidth and wi-fi access
  • Commit to replacing and repairing hardware
  • Commit to continued upgrading when necessary

VII. Develop Multi-year Budget

Phase 3, Measurement

VIII. Measurement

  • Identify good measurement tools
    • State achievement tests
    • Show how PBL leads to better results
    • Highlight where PBL implementation shows positive results
    • Local measures of content-mastery
    • Future-ready skills
  • Celebrate teacher and student mastery
  • Showcase projects in community

Phase 4, Next Steps

IX. Summer 2020 & Beyond: Prepare for Full-Scale Implementation

  • Train all staff for PBL implementation
  • Invest in technology and support for whole school transition
  • Identify next steps for innovation

For more information, visit:


Mohn, C. (2017, September). Implementation plan outline. Retrieved from:

Bailey, J., Martin, N., Schneider, C., Vander Ark, T., Duty, L., Ellis, S, Owens, D., Rabbit, B., & Terman, A. (2013, September). Blended learning implementation guide (Version 2.0). Retrieved from: