PLPs and Parent Communications
Late September and early October bring leaf-peepers, spectacular fall foliage, and hopefully, some rhythm to the school year. Among all the activity, and depending on school implementation of personal learning plans, teachers may be considering how to best communicate their work with PLPs to parents and the community.
Parent and educator involvement in the PLP process, including easy access to, and monitoring of the PLP plan, are critical elements of Vermont's Personalized Learning Program. Here are some options to consider when thinking about introducing the PLP process to the community.
Parent Education and Planning
Developing a plan for reaching out and communicating teacher, team, and school plans about the implementation of PLPs can significantly improve parent understanding of the process and expectations for student work.
To make this successful, teams and teachers should look at the calendar and develop a process for distributing information in a meaningful and cohesive manner. Calendar dates should also be given consideration as events such as Open House and student-teacher conferences can be excellent opportunities to keep parents and the community informed about PLP implementation and what that means for their students.
Educational resources and information for communicating to parents are widely available through the Agency of Education's Vermont PLP Process website. You can also find information on the PLP Pathways web page.
Electronic and Social Media
Depending on teacher and team social media presence, popular platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ can be excellent venues for the distribution of PLP related material. Individual, team, or school websites can also be great places to distribute links and material to the community.
Obviously, this requires an understanding of the community's use of technology (and perhaps additional education). That said, these tools can be excellent for supporting implementation of the personalized learning program.
PLP Based Parent Conferences
Conference formats and expectations vary widely from school to school but utilizing the PLP as a foundation for student-parent-teacher conferences can be a great way to introduce parents to the PLP program. This option requires thoughtful planning and clear expectations for all parties.
Here are some thoughts to consider:
- What elements of the PLP will be viewed or discussed in the conference?
- What role will the student play -- leading the conference, participant, presenter?
- What advance preparation is necessary so that students and parents can move through the conference format without confusion or questions?
- What goals and evidence do students need to have on their PLP to most accurately reflect their academic achievement, social growth, and strengths and challenges?
- How can the conference be formatted to maximize parent understanding of both the PLP process and student progress?
- How will teams and teachers document parent involvement in the PLP development process?
- How will teachers and teams develop feedback systems to identify elements of the conference experience that need improvement?
Admittedly, this is a lot of work and it requires a good deal of planning and preparation. Teams and teachers in the first year of implementation may choose to simply introduce the PLP process to parents at conferences.
Efforts to educate parents and the community about Act 77 and Personalized Learning Plans can help teachers, teams, and schools develop support for these educational initiatives. By planning ahead, utilizing existing structures where possible, and through the thoughtful implementation of new media and technology, educators can ease the transition to the personalized learning model.