Vermont Act 77

The concept of flexible pathways to graduation is at the heart of Act 77 and is defined as ‘any combination of high-quality academic and experiential components leading to secondary school completion and postsecondary readiness, which may include assessments that allow the student to apply his or her knowledge and skills to tasks that are of interest to that student.' This does not refer to a finite menu of pre-selected pathways from which a student must choose. Rather, it implies that there may be as many unique pathways as there are students. And the components that make up each pathway are limited only by our imaginations and the resources available. That implies a need for familiarity with school-based course offerings, virtual learning opportunities, community work-based learning opportunities, and dual enrollment options.

— Vermont Agency of Education

Vermont Act 77

(as outlined in the Vermont Educational Quality Standards)

Personalized Learning Plans (PLP)

2120.4  Personalized Learning Plans: As required in 16 V.S.A. 941, schools shall ensure all students in grades seven through twelve shall have a Personalized Learning Plan, which shall be a written document developed by the student, a representative of the school and, if the student is a minor, the student’s parent or legal guardian.  The Personalized Learning Plan shall describe the scope and rigor of learning opportunities and support services necessary for the student to achieve college and career readiness prior to graduation, and to attain a high school diploma.  This plan must be reviewed at least annually.

Flexible Pathways to Graduation

2120.2  Flexible Pathways: Schools must provide students the opportunity to experience learning through flexible and multiple pathways, including but not limited to career and technical education, virtual learning, work-based learning, service learning, dual enrollment, and early college.  Learning must occur under the supervision of an appropriately licensed educator.  Learning expectations must be aligned with state expectations and standards.

Students must be allowed to demonstrate proficiency by presenting multiple types of evidence, including but not limited to teacher or student-designed assessments, portfolios, performances, exhibitions and projects.

Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirements

2120.7  Graduation Requirements: A student meets the requirements for graduation when the student demonstrates evidence of proficiency in the curriculum.

2120.8  Local Graduation Requirements: Local graduation policy must define proficiency-based graduation requirements based on standards adopted by the State Board of Education.  As required in 16 V.S.A. 261a(a)(1), it is the responsibility of the supervisory union board to ensure alignment in expectations for all students within a supervisory union.

Based on the original and ongoing pedagogy related to the Plan Process at Bennington College, CAPA was asked by the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union to join a committee to work with them on the policy and implementation of Act 77 in the public schools in Bennington, VT.  We are now into a three-year commitment with the Mount Anthony Union Middle School (MAUMS), where Bennington College CAPA students mentor middle school students on their Personal Learning Plan process. Each fall, the Student Educational Policies Committee at Bennington College hold “Splash Day” at MAUMS, where they offer workshops in all of the areas taught at the college such as dance, drama, science, literature, and music. Students from the middle school also visit the Bennington College campus and meet in the CAPA symposium space to discuss issues related to their education. Susan Sgorbati, director of CAPA, participates in the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union Proficiency-Based Learning Committee that is developing policy and communication strategies related to Personalized Learning Plans, Flexible Pathways, and Proficiency-Based Learning. Under the supervision of Debbie Warnock, CAPA faculty member teaching education and sociology, CAPA students are also conducting educational research projects in the local public schools.