A Pre-Kindergarten - Grade 12 co-educational independent day school in Westchester County, New York

Research & Innovation Grants

The Shift to Competency-Based Learning at RCDS (2023-24)

The Shift to Competency-Based Learning at RCDS 

Competency Based Learning (CBL) is a student-centered pedagogical framework that focuses on equitably supporting students toward mastery of skills that are transferable to real-world situations. 

The framework is made up of five key shifts: 1) moving from a focus on content to a focus on skills; 2) from time-based to performance-based assessments;  3) from lessons to learning experiences; 4) from grading to feedback; and 5) from educator-designed to co-designed curriculum. In a CBL classroom, students have agency to own their learning and demonstrate their mastery of core competencies in creative ways. 

The RCDS Portrait of a Graduate describes how students come to acquire the skills and competencies to direct their own learning, build passion and resilience, think critically and creatively, and transfer their knowledge and skills to the real world. These are the exact principles that guide Competency Based Learning design. If achieving the Portrait of a Graduate is the goal for our students, Competencies Based Learning is a great way to design curriculum and pedagogy that supports the process of becoming the graduate in our portrait. This Research & Innovation Project strives to help RCDS make incremental shifts toward Competencies Based Learning and support student agency and development as learners.


Grant Recipients

Tatum Bell
Upper School English Teacher, Grade 9 Dean



Jen Doran
Upper School Science Teacher, Grade 9 Dean