Individual Plans of Study (IPS) were recently introduced at the state level when commissioner of education Dr. Randy Watson decided that programs were needed to ensure more individualized education as a part of the platform ‘Kansans Care.’
At the high school level, IPS are being used during seminar to help students identify their strengths, weaknesses and learning styles. This process will further identify careers or activities that students would be interested in.
IPS are required to be implemented by the end of the 2017-2018 school year. The administration is meeting the requirements through a chosen platform, Naviance. The program is used by students in eighth through twelfth grade. This gives incoming freshmen the advantage of choosing electives that will heighten their academic success.
“They’re choosing their electives based on whether or not they should go into culinary arts, or they should go into graphic design, or they should go into welding, or they should go into medical science classes. Getting that interest early helps them to get into the electives where they can be the most successful,” Moore said.
For most, the change has gone over smoothly. However, for one seminar teacher, the change has not been simple.
History teacher Elizabeth Gunn has a non-native English speaking seminar and faces unique challenges in the switch to IPS. These challenges cause her class to be unable to get through activities in one seminar.
“Some of the items on Naviance are in Spanish, and some of them aren’t. That makes it challenging when it’s not because then in order for them to answer honestly,…we have to go through the translation process. It’s taken up some time with that,” Gunn said. “Even for our kiddos who listen well and can speak relatively well…if you want to get the information to them, it’s still better if it is presented in Spanish.”
In the end, the goal of the IPS implementation is to help students learn their interests and the places they can be the most successful.
“Long-term, students leaving high school will have a little bit more clarity of what their interests are. That’s the goal, is we don’t want students to leave here and not have a clue as to what they want to do,” Crittenden said.