During the transition to a proficiency-based system of teaching and learning, districts and schools will need to review and possibly revise existing policies, while also creating new policies that address emerging models, practices, and learning experiences.
The following district policy exemplar on multiple pathways can be adapted to suit local needs and contexts. The Great Schools Partnership encourages state agencies, nonprofit organizations, districts, and schools to use or revise our policies for noncommercial purposes in the public interest.
Western Mountains Regional School Unit No. 99
Multiple Pathways and Personalized Learning Plans
East High School offers students a variety of learning options that allow students to demonstrate proficiency on expected competencies, earn academic credit, and satisfy graduation requirements. East High School also encourages its students to explore a broad range of learning experiences, including outside-of-school options, that allow them to pursue personal interests and career aspirations, gain applied knowledge and skills, and build strong work habits and character traits. All students will create a Personalized Learning Plan intended to increase educational engagement and motivation, while also preparing them for postsecondary education and careers.
A. Learning Options
East High School offers multiple learning options to students, including academic courses; career and technical education programming; online and blended learning experiences; dual-enrollment, concurrent-enrollment, and early college courses; alternative and at-risk programming, internship and exchange experiences, and adult education. Many of these options are detailed in the annual program of studies, and some are available to all students through the regular course registration and enrollment process.
B. Personal Learning Plans
In addition to the learning options offered by the school, students can work with advisors, counselors, and teachers to identify alternative courses, programs, or student-designed learning experiences, including independent studies and long-term projects, that engage their personal interests and ambitions, align with one or more competency, and meet East High School’s graduation requirements. To pursue a personalized learning pathway, including outside-of-school learning options, students must describe their learning experiences in a Personal Learning Plan, including how the experience satisfies both graduation requirements and expected cross-curricular and content-area competencies. Outside-of-school learning options may or may not be entirely aligned with specific classroom-based courses, but they must enable students to achieve at least some of the performance indicators taught in a comparable classroom-based course. Some interdisciplinary pathway experiences may enable students to achieve performance indicators addressed in multiple content areas or classroom-based courses. The student’s Personal Learning Plan will detail how the personalized pathway options will enable the student to achieve expected performance indicators, graduation competencies, and graduation requirements.
C. Approval, Certification, and Documentation
All learning options must be approved, reviewed, certified, and documented by administrators, teachers, and staff at East High School. Advisors, counselors, and/or teachers, working in collaboration with all participating outside instructors or supervisors, will certify that learning experiences culminate in the demonstration of proficiency on the graduation competencies and performance indicators detailed in a student’s approved Personal Learning Plan. To satisfy East High School graduation requirements, all learning options must (1) be approved in advance by the school and (2) be of an equal or higher rigor and quality as the school’s academic courses. If questions arise about the rigor, quality, or standards of a learning option, the Principal or a designee will make the ultimate determination. Students who successfully complete an approved learning option will have the experience, and the resulting grade or performance level, reported on the student’s progress reports, report cards, and official East High School transcript.
20-A M.R.S.A. Ch. 207-A § 4511, sub-§3 Accreditation Requirements (as revised 4/19/2016)
20-A M.R.S.A. Ch. 207-A § 4703 Instruction for Individual Students
20-A M.R.S.A. Ch. 207-A § 4722-A Proficiency-Based Diploma Standards and Transcripts (as revised 4/19/2016)
IKA: Grading and Reporting System
IKF: Graduation Requirements
Download the District Policy Exemplar: Multiple Pathways (.doc)
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