IEPs for Everyone?

Well, not quite, but the NJ Dept of Ed will be piloting what it calls Personalized Student Learning Plans in 16 schools (14 traditional middle & high – including a former employer of mine, Northern Burlington Regional High School – a charter school, and a vocational school) starting in the 2009-2010 school year.  The pilot program is scheduled to run through the end of the 2010-2011 school year.

From the above link:

PSLPs are one facet of Governor Corzine’s and DOE’s effort to transform secondary education to better prepare students for the workforce and college. The plans utilize adult mentors, including parents, teachers and counselors, to help students recognize and achieve their education goals.

“It is imperative that we increase the rigor of our high schools to better prepare children for work and college, but it is equally important to help students get a better grasp on where they are headed,” said Commissioner Davy. “The interest we received from schools wanting to take part in this pilot shows that this initiative has the potential to have a tremendous effect on the quality of each and every child’s education and future.”

During the two-year pilot, PSLPs will be studied to determine how to best use the plans to help students focus on their individual personal, academic and career development needs and goals.

Also this:

“PSLPs offer students a framework for setting goals and mapping out their future,” said Commissioner Davy. “They are like global positioning systems for students’ futures. Like GPS, the plans will be able to offer a clear path to their goals but also will be able to change course if students want to go in a different direction at some point in their academic careers.”

The learning plan formats developed by the pilot districts will include at least the following three areas of development: personal, academic and career. In addition to goal setting, examples of activities that students may engage in while creating and carrying out the plans include:

  • Personal Development: survey learning styles; inventory personality and interests.
  • Academic Development: select courses for graduation as they relate to interests and skills; discern individual student learning opportunities (internships, and service or independent learning); utilize support services and referrals as needed.
  • Career Development: Survey career interests and skills; Engage in career awareness and exploration to heighten understanding of opportunities available and generate interest (6th grade); Carry out career planning and preparation activities while developing academic knowledge and skill readiness (9th grade).

Evidently, 20 states plus the District of Columbia already have similar plans in place.  Does anyone have any experience with PSLPs?  How have they been received by students, parents, and faculty/staff?  Any advice for the NJ teachers piloting the program this year?  I would also love to hear about the experiences of the folks who are actually implementing these programs this year in NJ.

A final, hopefully not-too-cynical question: is it significant that there are only three teachers on the 33-member PSLP Advisory Committee (link to PDF)?  Should teachers have greater representation, or does a little under 10% of the committee sound about right?

Related: News story from today’s NJ Star-Ledger.


  • Hi, I’m back again! Great post on an interesting topic! My first feeling about PSLPs is fear. However, I think a lot of tools like project based learning and formative assessment really involve making learning personal. I wonder how schools like Hunterdon Central will deal with the lack of continuity since they aren’t a K-12 district. Lastly, I do not think that less than 10% is enough representation. Teachers automatically have a healthy skepticism about directives from the state (and rightly so). The DOE is not helping its case by including so few teachers in the decision making process.
    .-= Heather Hersey´s last blog ..Fight Your Subjectism! =-.

  • […] a year and a half ago, I wrote about New Jersey’s pilot program for Personalized Student Learning Plans, defined in the New Jersey […]

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