Unfortunately, the traditional approach to a high school education is standing in the way of student success. For too long, such a “one-size-fits-all” learning environment that is found in a typical high school classroom has prevented too many students from engaging in their own learning.
High school should strive for academic and social relevancy by working with students individually. A personalized, competency-based learning plan needs to be developed with each student so that those who need more time and support in certain subjects can get it, and those who are ready to move ahead can do so at their own pace. Instruction should be delivered in the classroom and online with supervision and support to promote a deeper understanding of academic content.
A student’s personal learning plan will help guide students as they develop the skills that are critical for success in college and career. This includes the skills and ability to
- think creatively in both digital and nondigital environments
- collaborate in both physical and virtual environments
- communicate by text, speech, visually and in multi-media formats
- research, access and interpret information for their learning
- solve complex problems
A student’s personal learning plan should:
- Focus on honoring and developing their interests,
- Outline the knowledge, skills and dispositions for learning that are established in conjunction with the school mission and the high school graduation requirements, and
- Delineate minimum expectations for service learning as part of their high school education.
In addition, each individualized plan will summarize the required proficiency levels needed to obtain relevant course credit for graduation, track student goals for learning, and include a learning schedule. Student self-assessment and self-monitoring of progress on their personalized learning plans will be completed through an electronic portfolio system
Such a personalized approach to learning assumes a strong student support and advising system. Thus, all students are assigned a teacher-advisor who remains with them throughout their entire high school career. The teacher-advisor works individually with a student to construct the personalized learning plan which reflects the unique needs and interests of each student.