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Mastery Learning at Northwood

Northwood Elementary opened its doors in 2007.  We currently serve 550 students K-4 students. We strive daily to connect with our community and to provide an education that is responsive to the times and focused on what’s best for our students. We want our students to develop a strong understanding about who they are as learners and as citizens in our community.  At Northwood, just like other Marysville Schools, we have worked to step away from the passive industrial educational model, and have moved towards a more active and engaged learning model. We have done this through personalized, mastery learning. Our hope is that when people look at our building they say, “Wow, something wonderful is going on in there and I want to be apart of it.”  


Our building culture and physical environment are the first things people notice.  If you walk into any classroom at Northwood, you might be surprised at how different it looks from what you might remember school being like.  Traditionally, students had little choice in a classroom. Rarely were student’s voices used to change the environment in which they were educated in.  Students were not emotionally connected to their classrooms and did not have a sense of belonging to a school community. Our Northwood classrooms: 

  • Invite students in and ask them to share their opinions and voice.
  • Allow students to develop an understanding on how they learn best through seating options to instructional content engagement.
  • Remind students that failure is part of learning cycle and that they must persevere until they succeed.
  • Instill in students the importance of kindness, creativity, leadership and much more.

At Northwood, a sense of belonging is the foundational underpinning that allows us to pull off Mastery Learning and all of its essential components.  Our belief is that our school and classroom cultures are the soil that we plant our Mastery Learning in to grow.

As indicated above, Mastery Learning is complex.  At Northwood we have spent the last three years digging into Mastery Learning with students and staff.  Students at Northwood are able to articulate what they are learning and they are able to speak mindfully about what they need to do to be able to do to show mastery. Students are no longer passive bystanders in their learning.  They are actively engaged in the entire learning process. This style of learning allows for differences in students and allows teachers to support all students. Students at Northwood talk about the standards they are working on, where they are in the mastery cycle and what they need to do to master a standard.  Teachers and students work together to decide the best path for the child. If a child is struggling, they may spend some extra time working with the teacher. If a child is showing mastery, then the teacher will provide support that allows the child to be challenged and grow. Here, all students matter and their differences are honored.

When our students leave Northwood, we want them to have a strong understanding of who they are as learners and as citizens in our community.  Our hope is that each child is ready for the next steps in their educational journey. We feel strongly that this will happen through Mastery Learning.

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