The simple answer to this question is: we have to. ACT 77 was passed in 2013 by the Vermont Legislature, which included the element of Personalized Learning Plans. However, we also believe the PLPs can help direct student learning and help us design learning experiences that are responsive to students’ needs and interests.
Barre Supervisory Union launched Personalized Learning Plans in the Fall of 2015. At that time, our Personalized Learning Plans consisted of a number of worksheets directed towards self-discovery, short-and-long-term plans, strengths and challenges. There was quickly a realization that the intent of “Personalized Learning Plan” initiative and the actual product that we were using were not aligned. In short, students didn’t enjoy the process, teachers didn’t utilize them, and parents hardly knew they existed. Last year, we decided to take a hiatus with PLPs, and spend the year researching different products that would be more useful and meaningful for students. After a year of researching, we have found a platform that we are really excited to offer to all of our SHS students. The platform we are using is called “GoEnnounce”, which is a digital portfolio. In GoEnnounce, students will create a social-media-type page which is their own (if a student moves out of the district, or after he/she graduates from SHS, access to GoEnnounce can continue by the individual paying $5 per year). GoEnnounce will allow students to post pictures (and videos soon . . . ) regarding different academic projects, experiences, accomplishments, etc, which will allow them to document their learning in a much more vibrant way than just through their high school transcript. Additionally, students will have “followers” on their account. A “follower” is someone who is invited, via email, to view and/or comment on a student’s GoEnnounce page, and can receive alerts when updated. Students are required to have a minimum of their Advisor, School Counselor, and a Parent/Guardian as followers, but can invite other meaningful people.