A Belief in What is Possible: FWSU Action Plan Revisited

Four years ago, FWSU embarked on a journey to move education in our schools from the status quo education of the last 100 years, into the 21st Century. The conduit for this change was our Action Plan and it has truly transformed teaching and learning in our system. How? Our Action Plan shifted our thinking from traditional schooling and test scores, to looking at what is important for our students’ future. Certainly test scores matter, but we know that students growing up in our world today need so much more.

biomath2When we developed our first FWSU Action Plan, we allowed ourselves to dream. We identified four targets areas – student centered learning, student leadership, engaged community partners, and flexible learning environments – that became understandable and easy to recognize. The targets made our school more human and less industrial.

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Last spring the FWSU Action Plan Committee began the revision process. The FWSU Board of Directors was clear that as a system, our course should remain stable, but progressive. They charged the committee with updating the plan without systemically overhauling our direction. The committee explored every section of the plan and made adjustments the language to match the latest Vermont education initiatives and propel our plan into the future. Most of the changes occurred in our new action steps. The FWSU Board unanimously approved the new/updated action plan at their December meeting. You can view our updated plan here. Below are the four targets with updated language:

New Action Plan Targets

Since our plan went into action our schools have thrived. Innovation, creativity, and design are now common themes in our classrooms. Students are not only focusing on solving problems, but are also becoming problem finders. Our students will be entering a world very different from the one many of us faced after high school. We need them to be able to adapt as they confront a myriad of issues, many of which are unimaginable to us. The pace of change in the world is accelerating and we need to prepare students to stay in sync with that change.

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Even though we have been transforming for several years and are still in the early stages of our transformation, today still wrestle with how to we make the work of all of our learners even more personal. As a learning community, we are continue to be driven by “a belief in what is possible” for each and every child.

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