Policy - Vermont PLP Process

Policy

The Vermont Agency of Education and the Vermont Personalized Learning Plan Work Group have developed a series of resources to help schools consider ways in which they can plan for and implement Personalized Learning Plans. These resources will enable educators to work with their community members, parents, educators, and students to create a process and a product that considers the assets of the school and community while remaining focused on the unique qualities that each student brings to the learning process.


The successful implementation of Personalized Learning Plans typically requires revision of existing and the development of new school and district policies. These new and revised organizational and instructional policies can foster common understanding across multiple audiences and stakeholders, secure official support for new practices, promote the sustainability of decisions in the midst of personnel changes, and give purposeful direction to school leaders and educators.

Local policy should outline expectations and provide the support and resources required for successful implementation. Well-designed policies help educators, staff members, students, and parents clearly understand new requirements, while also building in enough flexibility to enable teachers to personalize learning for students. When developing new district and school policies, we strongly encourage a minimalist approach that targets only the most essential components of an effective educational system.

The Vermont Agency of Education belongs to the New England Secondary School Consortium and has collaborated with other New England states to create the High Leverage Policy Framework to assist local school and district policy development. Drawing from the fields of education policy, school redesign, organizational change, leadership development, and program evaluation, the High Leverage Policy Framework is a detailed exploration of education policy from rationale to development to implementation. By taking into account the larger social and political "ecosystem" in which policy is formed, written, and implemented, this tool provides a step-by-step framework to identify and develop effective, high-impact policies. The HLP framework can be found here.

The PLP self-assessment on this site allows for users to respond to a series of questions around local policy. After conducting the self-assessment, school or district personnel may want to engage in a conversation using a series of guiding questions aligned to the steps associated with the self-assesment.

Step 1: Engage school board to understand conceptual framework and PLP design

Rationale

There needs to be unified understanding, support, and buy-in to champion the cause and develop appropriate policy. In addition, this work needs to tke place preK-12, and as such, requires coordination from the classroom to the school board. As the school/district moves ahead with implementation, school board members will be needed to support this effort with the public.

Guiding Questions for Discussion

  1. Are there adequate pathways established within the school system to allow for effective implementation of Personalized Learning Plans?
  2. What are potential barriers for the school board to support PLPs?
  3. What role will the school board play in supporting and communicating about PLPs?
  4. How can administrators, teachers and students help the school board understand PLPs?

Step 2: Review current school board policies; identifying areas in need of updating

Rationale

As a board embarks on a review of current policies with an eye toward flexible pathways and Personalized Learning Plans, a thoughtful analysis of current policies will be required. Members will need to determine key leverage points for policies knowing that a school board cannot create policies for all occasions. It is important to remember that no set of policies can predict all future considerations and must be undertaken jointly with cultural changes and understanding.

Guiding Questions for Discussion

  1. How does our board's process for policy adoption engage and include community members and educators?

Step 3: Draft new district policies (if necessary)

Rationale

New policies may be needed—but such policies need to be targeted to specific issues. In general, fewer but more specific policies are more helpful than a host of broader policies.

Guiding Questions for Discussion

  1. How can we learn from other districts and adapt policies to our local needs?

Step 4: Implement policy adoption process

Rationale

After the policy committee has had ample time to review and revise policies, the full board will want to consider the changes. This might be an appropriate time for parents and the general public to attend a board meeting to learn about the proposed policies and provide feedback. Upon conclusion, the board may choose to consider the public response when finalizing the language of the policy(ies).

Guiding Questions for Discussion

  1. How might the board work with school leadership to raise awareness of proposed changes and elicit feedback?

Step 5: Pass new district policies (if necessary)

Rationale

Following proper decorum, the school board will secure final language of policy as it relates to Personalized Learning Plans. The policy will be included in future manuals and available for school and public review at will.

Guiding Questions for Discussion

  1. How might the school board play a role in communicating the changes associated with the adoption of new policy(ies)?

Resources

Statutory Requirements
The official statutory requirements for personalized learning plans and multiple and flexible pathways in Vermont's districts and public schools.

Student Learning Plans Policy Brief
The Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy provided this policy brief in June 2011.

Using Individual Learning Plans to Produce College and Career Ready Graduates
A policy brief distributed by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, February 2013.

Questions?

Debi Price, Project Manager, at debora.price@state.vt.us or (802) 479-1172

Page Last Updated on June 26, 2014