This blog was co-authored by Joy Peterson and Jared Bailey. Joy and Jared are teammates on Sterling House at Williston Central School. Joy is the ELA teacher and Jared is the math teacher.
Act 77 requires students to develop a PLP starting in grade 7. Here on Sterling House at Williston Central School, we are 5/6 interdisciplinary team. In the fall, we began to explore PLPs at a faculty meeting in which Don Taylor presented his PLP work to us.
While Act 77 does not impact us directly, we took the view that we could begin to prepare our students now, by implementing PLPs in 5th and 6th grade, and help them to be familiar with the process when they reach 7th grade.
We began our PLP journey by having students write SMART goals in the first months of school. Jared created a Google Site template, which each student then customized. The tabs of the Site include Introduction, Goals, Evidence, Community, ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies.
SMART goals included one personal goal and one academic goal. In December, Joy created an ELA assignment called the PLP Identity Assignment. Students were required to complete three Google Presentation slides: “Who Am I?” “How do I Fit Into the Community?” and “What Are my Principles and Values?” These slides were then inserted into the Introduction and Community pages.
In January, we presented our work with PLPs at the Middle Grades Institute conference at the University of Vermont. The feedback and support that we received was fantastic.
In February, students began to prepare for student/parent/teacher conferences. This year, for the first time, students are beginning conferences by spending twenty minutes with their parents, explaining and celebrating their best work from the trimester via their PLP Site. Students and parents then transition to their core teacher’s classroom for the remainder of the conference.
All of these tasks were assigned to students via Google Classroom, and had completion point values in the grade book. During the past two weeks, each core teacher has met individually with the students in their core to go over the PLP and ensure that it is “conference-ready.” Next week we begin student/parent/teacher conferences.
Our hope is that the PLP is a place to set goals, display exemplary work samples, and track student growth. We’re excited about sharing this with parents, and looking forward to PLPs becoming part of Sterling’s learning culture.
Jared can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and Joy at email@example.com. Jared can followed on Twitter @jwbvt.