Friday, January 15, 2016

Personalized Learning Plans & Act 77 Update

The following letter will be mailed home to all 7th, 8th, and 9th grade families next week:

January 19th, 2016

Dear Parents/Guardians:

We want to take this opportunity to share with you important information regarding Act 77, a new Vermont law that Hazen Union has been implementing, and how it has been and will be affecting your students.

Act 77, or Flexible Pathways, is the legislation that recognizes each student as an individual and gives the opportunity for a diverse range of educational experiences so that every student can graduate and prepare for a full life after high school. There is no longer a “traditional” path to graduation: students have access to school-based course offerings, online classes, opportunities to earn credit for employment, internships, and other independent studies, in addition to taking college courses (for free!).

Students in grades 7-9 have been working diligently to create Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs) to showcase their growth, strengths, abilities, and goals. These PLPs will serve as a portfolio and a launching point for students to design a flexible pathway through their education, serving as the foundation for personalized learning that we will continue to build upon throughout their years at Hazen Union.

Over the past few months, students have become comfortable at navigating, designing, and editing their PLPs. In addition to Google Sites, students have utilized different apps, tools, and activities that have helped them to discover who they are and want to be, including their best learning styles, relationships with others, character traits, and the value of being productive members of the community. Students have used blogs, “storycorps” interviews, and other mediums to express themselves and showcase their talents. Looking forward, students will display evidence relating to proficiencies and educational standards, compile information about potential colleges and careers, and continue to modify and track their educational and personal goals.

It is our responsibility as educators, community stakeholders, and family members to assist our students in achieving their goals and supporting their work. By starting this exploration process at the very beginning of their time at Hazen Union, students will have the time and resources to pursue their ultimate goals and be ready and enthusiastic for life after receiving their diploma.

Students have been asking a lot of questions in regards to PLPs: “Why are we doing this? How is this going to help me? What’s the point?” As a school community, we have welcomed and encouraged these questions. If students cannot see the relevance and the benefits of this work and their portfolio, Act 77 and PLPs will not succeed. We need students to see how their current planning and choices will impact the rest of their education.  

Please talk to your children about their PLPs, their short-term and long-term goals, and what they need to do to achieve those goals. We are in the middle of an exciting educational reformation and as a community we have an opportunity to help the next generation be prepared and excited for their future.

If you have any questions, thoughts, or ideas, please feel free to contact us.

John Craig Allie O’Hara
Associate Principal Act 77 Coordinator

Hazen Union School Hazen Union School