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MVHS teachers back to school to learn
RUMFORD -- Last year, teachers and support staff at Mountain Valley High School spent professional development time learning about Mass Customized Learning.
Mass Customized Learning is a form of personalized Proficiency-Based Education (PBE). PBE is a fundamental change in education so that individual needs and interests of all learners would be met every day. Professional development dedicated to studying PBE and experimenting with research-based best practices.
The next step is to move the school towards PBE. That means each student would have to demonstrate expertise in a variety of skills and knowledge. Students entering eighth grade this year will ultimately graduate based on their proficiency.
Principal Matt Gilbert explained in a letter to staff, “I am looking forward to our continued transition towards a proficiency based school. This is meaningful and exciting work -- the chance to improve upon the standards-based system that we embarked on a decade ago.”
During this school year, teachers and support staff will continue to learn during Wednesday mornings. As they learn, they will bring the tools into their classrooms to practice using them.
Gilbert outlined, “The first quarter we are going to focus on Unpacking Standards. The second quarter will be concentrated on student Voice and Choice. The third quarter is going to be dedicated towards allowing multiple means for demonstrating mastery of a standard. Last, the fourth quarter is reserved for reviewing our progress in relation to our Teacher Pace.”
Unpacking standards means first teachers then students will develop a more in-depth understanding of each of the standards. This understanding is designed to help students know what they need to learn and be able to do to show proficiency.
Voice and choice is a catchy phrase to remind teachers to provide a variety of ways to learn and then demonstrate proficiency. Voice allows students to have more influence over what they will learn and how they will learn it.
Finally, in theory, PBE is about the learner going at his or her own pace. Some students may breeze through the standards in a course in just a few months. Other students may need more than a school year. Teacher pace is a guideline for students so they achieve results in a reasonable time.
Gilbert concluded his letter to staff with, “We have done well in the past for our students, but we all know that our students have changed. They have changed due to the economy, they have changed due to technology, they have changed due to the nature of mankind. What we need to do to reach our learners is not more of the same, instead we need to reinvent ourselves by identifying and developing the strategies necessary to meet the needs of our changing demographic. This year will be dedicated to that process and to me that type of purposeful change is meaningful and truly awesome.”