Target 3. Flexible Learning Environments – FWSU will maximize flexible learning environments by redefining the school day, promoting learning experiences that extend beyond the school classroom, and fostering creativity, innovation, and differentiated learning opportunities for all.
Action Step – Develop opportunities for students to collaborate, innovate, create and conceptualize in all learning settings
The Champlain Valley Superintendents Association (CVSA) has proposed a change to the calendar currently used by schools in the Champlain Valley. This new model is being considered for the 2014/15 school year, based on the work of VT Superintendents Association (VSA) Educational Quality Framework, which has been endorsed by the VT State Board of Education (VTSBE) and the Vermont Agency of Education (VT-AOE). Under Vermont law, the Superintendents in the Champlain Valley – part of the VT Superintendents Association (VSA) – are responsible for establishing a uniform school calendar for the region (.D, C. S. “CSD Spotlight.” CSD Spotlight. Colchester SD, 23 May 2013. Web. 11 June 2013.)
Calendar 2.0 (aka “Vision Calendar”) is a new way of looking at the academic year. The calendar preserves the same 178/179 day schedule we currently have in FWSU schools, but uses blocks (or “intersessions”) for learning which are different from what we are accustomed to. The blocks can be and will be used for teacher training, student remediation, and learning acceleration. The calendar comes at an opportune time. Our schools are poised to address the new flexible pathways legislation which was recently enacted by the State of Vermont. This law calls for students to have Personalized Learning Plans (PLP) and expands internship opportunities.
Here are just some of the reasons this calendar is being seriously considered.
- Provides opportunities for student interventions during the school year
- Supports student learning/achievement
- Provides opportunities for embedded professional development and reflection which reduces time that teachers are out of the classroom
- Reduces regression (loss of learning) as a result of extended vacations
- Increases access to language-rich environments, especially for English Language Learners (ELL) and students with low socioeconomic challenges
- Supports positive school climate
- Distributes the pace of education in reasonable chunks for student learning
- Provides more effective instruction time and less need for review
- Maintains/promotes academic momentum for students
This is only the beginning of the conversation in our region. It is an ongoing dialogue that will continue well into next school year and meetings being planned at the regional level to gather broad stakeholder feedback. Next fall, our local School Board meetings will also feature discussions within our communities about the benefits and challenges that this change could provide.
We invite you to begin now and become informed about the Vision Calendar. The Calendar 2.0 website contains valuable information and FAQs. You can also interact with others through the site by posting your own thoughts and questions to add to the regional conversation.