Saturday, March 17, 2018

Flexible Pathways - All in One!

Career & Technical Centers

Central Vermont Career Center (CVCC), formally known as the Barre Tech Center, is our local tech center.  They currently have some great programs including:  Automotive Technology, Baking Arts, Building Trades, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Digital Media Arts, Electrical Technology, Emergency Services, Exploratory Tech., Human Services, Natural Resources and Sustainability, Plumbing and Heating, Cooperative Education.  Our students have been enjoying these programs for years and doing well as evidenced by the quarter 1 awards!

In addition, CVCC will be adding a Medical Professions Program that will be taking applications this spring for Fall 2018.  This program will offer dual enrollment opportunities in Human Biology with opportunities for clinical shadowing.  It will introduce students to a variety of careers including:  nursing, radiography, physical and occupational therapy, emergency services, home health, phlebotomy, dental assisting, surgical services, and acute care!

Did you know students may attend other tech or career centers?  If our local tech center does not have the career path you or your student is seeking to follow - another center might.  A student may apply to another tech center only after determining that the program is not offered at their local center or if they have been denied access to their choice program at CVCC.  What's the catch?  Well, transportation.  Although the programming will be paid for, you need to find your own way to programs outside of CVCC.  If you do have a method of transportation, it's a great idea to check out all of your options!

Here are some of those centers most accessible to our students in alphabetical order:

Burlington Technical Center has Aviation, Criminal Justice, and Medical and Sports Sciences.
Center for Technology Essex has Dentistry.
Green Mountain Technology & Career Center has Power Sport Technology.
Randolph Technical Career Center has Agricultural Tech, Criminal Justice, Diesel Tech and Education/Social Services.
River Bend Career and Tech Center has Criminal Justice, Heavy Equipment, and Small Engines.

Each tech center has it's own spring application process, all of which can be found on their websites.  Check out these options for flexible pathways in your education!

Student-Directed Learning

Even before Act 77 required flexible pathways for student learning, U-32 was providing student-directed learning options. Most students start with Branching Out (middle school and high school versions) and they choose one topic of study which usually takes one class in their schedule. That class time is used by the student to develop and carry out their study plan. There have been many great topics from American Sign Language and Italian to Physical Therapy and Law Enforcement. Other students have enjoyed pursuing their passions in Baking, Nutrition, Yoga, Guitar, Beekeeping and Herbalism. Students who excelled in, and enjoyed learning via Branching Out often carry on additional self-directed learning through either the Pilot or Community Based Learning programs.

Alternate Path to Graduation is a bit different. Students are usually completing their requirements for graduation (that might look like one or two credits they need to gather to finish out their program) but in the future the program may allow students to demonstrate skills and knowledge in the proficiency based system in order to graduate. In all cases, student directed learning is a great way for students to demonstrate the skills and knowledge outlined in the Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs). 

Photo courtesy of Karen Liebermann

Branching Out

Open to students in grades 9-12
Branching Out is a program for students who want to expand their learning beyond the classroom.
Branching Out is for students who want to:
  • Create individual learning plans based on their own goals and learning styles
  • Spend a portion of each week learning independently, outside of school
  • Get high school elective credit (or transferable skills) for completion of their learning plans
  • Study subjects not currently offered at U-32
  • Work and study with mentors in the community
Branching Out students need to:
  • Demonstrate independent study skills and a strong desire to learn
  • Cooperate, communicate, and keep commitments
  • Ask for and accept support from adults and peers
  • Be dedicated to learning and the development of self-discipline
Credit earned through Branching Out is elective only.  Branching Out studies are full year unless special permission for different timing has been approved. To enroll, students need to complete an application form and interview.  Acceptance is generally first come/first served, with priority given to new applicants or to juniors and seniors.  Interviews are conducted starting in March for the following academic year. For more information and/or an Application for Enrollment, please contact the Branching Out Advisor, Karen Liebermann or Student Services Office.


Photos courtesy of Pilot website (Grae Moriath)

The Pilot
Open to students in grades 9-12
The Pilot is a rigorous program of mentored independent study that allows U-32 students to design their own learning and  incorporate their passions and interests. Working with a committee of teachers and advisors, students create their own learning plans that address standards through project based work, internships, and classes that will be assessed by U-32 teachers. The Pilot seeks motivated, curious learners who are eager to pursue their passions and are looking for a different way to approach and take ownership of their education. Students gain a deeper understanding of who they are as learners in the Pilot, which allows them to take a hands-on approach and explore their interests. See current student work.

Kristina - For the first time in my whole life I have freedom in my learning, but so much responsibility comes along with it. Now I actually need to have awareness of “how” I learn, now I am teaching myself! (from the pilot blog)

To enroll, students need to complete an application with recommendations and an interview. Interviews are conducted in April for the following academic year. For more information please contact the Pilot Program Advisor, Amy Koenigbauer, or Student Services Office.

Photos courtesy of Pilot website (Conor Cooley and Karli Robertson)

Community Based Learning (CBL)
Students obtain experiences that engage the community as an extension of the classroom, for the purpose of career exploration, training, or genuine curiosity and interest in a subject area. Students will map out a learning plan with goals, take action steps, prove / document their learning with artifacts,  and understand all skills developed using the U32 SLO’s.  Time during the semester is spent in class, with the instructor, at an internship, or with a mentor in this student driven course.

Photo Courtesy of George Cook

Alternate Path to Graduation (APG)
The Alternate Path to Graduation is a high school completion program for students over the age of sixteen who are highly skilled and/or at risk of dropping out and/or not enrolled in school. The Alternate Path provides a comparable path to a degree for students over the age of sixteen who face special circumstances in achieving their degree. The Alternate Path to Graduation is in alignment with the Vermont Department of Education’s Flexible Pathways Initiative, created by Act 77

Dual Enrollment & Early College

Dual Enrollment

As a current Vermont high school junior or senior, students across Vermont are eligible for two Vermont Dual Enrollment Vouchers, allowing you to take one free college course in your junior year of high school and one in your senior year of high school.
It’s called Dual Enrollment because your free college courses will also earn you credit towards graduation from high school.
Students must meet the following requirements to participate in dual enrollment:  
  • Students must get approval for their participation from their high school principal or designee
  • Students wanting to participate in dual enrollment must include it in their Personalized Learning Plan
Dual enrollment is offered through all VT public colleges/universities and some private colleges too. Go to for a list of participating colleges and to request a dual enrollment voucher.
There are rumors of other opportunities for using dual enrollment vouchers toward learning.  For example, you may be able to use your dual enrollment voucher for an LNA program offered by Tender Loving Care (TLC) Nursing at Central Vermont Career Center or toward the Stone Arts School at the Vermont Granite museum in Barre, VT.  If either of these are confirmed, the information will be shared.

Early College 

Vermont's Early College Program (ECP) allows students who are accepted into full-time college programs in one of the Vermont State Colleges or an accredited private college in Vermont (must be approved by the Vermont Secretary of Education) to attend their first year of college and complete their final year of high school concurrently.
Students must meet the following requirements to participate in early college:
  • Students must get approval for their participation from their high school principal or designee in order to assure that the student is academically ready for college courses and to ensure that the high school graduation requirements will be met through college courses.
  • Students wanting to participate in the Early College program must have the program documented in their Personalized Learning Plan.

High School Seniors are also eligible for Early College- go to for more information

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