Click here for our NeW bLoG all about designing learning plans at VCS:
Here is an excerpt from this NeW bLoG:
Nel Noddings, an educational scholar from Stanford University, has provided ample nourishment for the cultivation of Vernon Community School (along with many others). She reminds us of the basic human need of care, and its substantial impact on the rest of our lives. This is particularly true for developing humans who are vulnerable to educational demands that trigger a variety of defenses. For growth to happen – for the seed to open, for risks to be taken, to bounce back after mistakes – care is critical.
To live caringly in the educational ecology of VCS, students are given the opportunity to design & then redesign (repeat) their unique learning plans (and a formal Learning Plan each fall) – looking towards graduation and beyond. We recognize like John Dewey, however, that education is not preparation for life – but education is life itself. This blog,then, will contain the resources students require to discern and determine their unique pathways over time – beginning in grade 7.
There are core courses which all students at VCS receive for their participation and engagement in a variety of experiences (incorporating all aspects of the BC Curriculum), as well as learning and growth as a result. This is documented through “Examinations of Learning” (fall, winter & spring), as well as teacher initiated documentation of learning on Fresh Grade. Additional course credits can be given for students who document their work and learning from mentors and community partnerships on Fresh Grade (both inside of and outside of school).
For most students – ages 12-15 – the core courses are english, math, social studies, science, health & career, p.e., and electives (mentor work and community partnerships).
For most students – ages 15-19 – credits for a variety of courses are given to students throughout these “grad study years” – english, math, social studies, and science are core with electives (academic & vocational mentorships/college courses/online learning, etc.) chosen by students based upon interests and passions. 80 credits are required to receive a “Dogwood” certificate – the credentialing required for all post-secondary studies.
VCS is committed to co-creating programs which lead to “Dogwood” graduation for all students. Students may remain at VCS until they are 19 (without cost) in order to achieve this. Students may also achieve these requirements and leave school early with their “Dogwood.” These decisions will be made through conversations with students, parents, teachers, and mentors, and documented in personalized Learning Plans (developed or reviewed each fall).