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Getting Smart Podcast

Feb 7, 2018

Today, Tom Vander Ark is chatting with Superintendent of Meriden Public Schools, Mark Benigni. As a long-time resident and former Mayor of Meriden, Mark is committed to bringing about positive change in the local schools. In fact, they’ve already accomplished a lot so far. Mark has been Superintendent for over seven years and Meriden has been nationally recognized as a blended and personalized learning leader.


In this episode, Mark and Tom discuss the shift to student-centered learning, more voice and choice through personalized learning and experiences, extended learning time in several of their elementary schools, and the creation of a highly collaborative leadership climate and culture.


Key Takeaways:

[1:18] Where they’re located in Connecticut and a little bit about the schools.

[1:39] The changes Mark has seen in both the city of Meriden and the school system.

[2:10] Their school system that serves an economically challenged population.

[2:57] What Mark thinks he got right in his first couple of years as a new Superintendent.

[5:13] Working collaboratively with other school districts — Mark’s take on working with other urban Superintendents and districts in Connecticut.

[6:34] Looking back, what Mark would do differently in his years as a Superintendent.

[7:38] Personalized learning efforts at Meriden Public Schools.

[9:20] How Mark framed and managed the shift of becoming a blended and personalized learning leader.

[11:32] Background on the initiative from a few years back when they refocused on student-centered learning.

[13:30] What a good example of student-centered learning looks like in Mark’s district.

[15:10] How are Meriden schools thinking about the shift to competency-based learning.

[16:41] How competency-based learning is a long-term shift and the steps they’re taking towards it.

[19:45] What’s on the horizon for Meriden.

[21:07] Would Mark encourage other people to take on the position of a Superintendent?

[21:49] What Mark would encourage people to learn if they’re interested in becoming a Superintendent.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Meriden Public Schools

John Barry Elementary School


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