By the CVU School Board
In June of 2013, Governor Peter Shumlin signed the Flexible Pathways Bill, or Act 77, putting into place the expansion of the state’s dual enrollment program, early college programs and increased access to extended learning opportunities for all students. Additionally, this bill initiates the implementation of statewide Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs) for all students.
The Flexible Pathways Bill is intended to:
increase rates of graduation and postsecondary education across the state (CVU’s graduation rate is approximately 96 percent. In 2013, 69 percent and 1 percent of graduates attended four-year and two-year higher education institutions, respectively.)
further promote opportunities for all students to explore and honor personal goals
address a variety of learning styles and skills
expand creativity in schools across the state.
So what exactly are flexible, or multiple, pathways? In the simplest of terms, they are ways beyond the traditional classroom that a student might gain college and/or career readiness skills needed for post-graduation opportunities. These might include everything from taking college or online courses, earning credit for a work-based assignment or internship or encouraging student-designed projects.
The Flexible Pathways Bill ensures that all students are able to experience more relevant, challenging and rigorous programs of study that will meet their needs and ultimately lead to their future success. In addition, the bill puts into place the requirement for all schools to implement a Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) program by the fall of 2015. This part of the bill will encourage students to be an integral part of their learning experience, with an increased emphasis on assisting students to set personal goals that are in alignment with both CVU’s academic expectations and students’ individual interests.
At CVU, students have been exploring flexible pathways for many years—from dual enrollment and internships to the Graduation Challenge senior project and Virtual High School, and more recently the GOAL (Go Out and Learn) program, which encourages students to design a learning opportunity beyond the classroom. In 2013-2014, 73 students participated in dual enrollment, four students in GOAL and 40 students in Virtual High School. So while this new bill will impact all high schools across the state, CVU is well poised to implement any changes.
At this time, the PLP process is still in the development phase and all schools, including CVU and the whole CSSU district, have been working toward identifying the most effective implementation process to meet the state’s deadline.
If you are interested in learning more, visit NESSC@newenglandssc.org – What Are Personal Learning Plans? – A New England Secondary School Consortium Briefing.
Williston members of the Champlain Valley Union High School Board include Jeanne Jensen, Jonathan Milne and Polly Malik.