PLP’s: Possible or Pointless?

Ben Stoll, Writer

This year, the freshmen class of 2019 will be the first set of students from Bellows Free Academy that will set up Personal Learning Plans (PLP’s).

Under the Act 77 Flexible Pathways bill, which was signed by Governor Peter Shumlin on June. 6 2013, PLP’s were to be implemented for all students in grades seven through nine by the fall of 2015.

The goal of PLP’s is for students to set up personal goals that can either be as short-term as passing a math class in freshman year, or as long-term as getting accepted into an Ivy League College.

The idea behind PLP’s are to provide students with an opportunity for academic success, while giving students a belief that they are in direct control of their education, along with preparing them for post-secondary schooling.

But the question are PLP’s functioning as they were intended to? Do students take away with what PLPs were intended to provide?

Liam Jemley (‘19), a student who recently partook in taking the PLP test is very optimistic on how PLP’s will affect BFA as a whole.

“I hope that PLPs will positively impact the BFA community, as setting goals is a positive way to affect what someone does in the future,” Jemley said.

Jemley, along with numerous other students have attempted to vision what the PLP’s would bring to BFA.

“I can see PLP’s helping someone to decide what it is they want to do,” Jemley said.

However, not every student shares the same enthusiasm as Jemley toward PLPs. Tyler Sears (‘19) is one of many who question whether PLP’s will be as effective as promised.

“Honestly, I don’t think my PLP will play a single role in the classes I choose. I already knew what I wanted to do without the form’s help,” Sears said.

Sears does understand that PLPs were created with the intention to guide students toward accomplishing goals, and removing commonplace problems inside everyday schooling.

“I think that they had a just cause, but similarly to nearly every other student, I loathe them. I understand that they were supposed to help alleviate stress in this stage of our lives, but if anything, they added to it. To give a quick example, we were expected to know how we wanted to spend 40+ years of our lives as mere Freshmen. We can hardly decide what we want for lunch,” Sears said.

Countless students believe that PLP’s were poorly structured. Genevieve Prefontaine (‘19) is one of those students.

“I think PLP plans will help increase a student’s success through high school and into college, if started in the beginning of middle school. A lot of students don’t seem to be taking this seriously because the questions are uninteresting, long, and personal. It asks questions about yourself which can be very tedious and boring. Instead of handing out a piece of paper and saying ‘fill this out,’ there should be discussions and people who are more aware about our career options,” Prefontaine said.

No matter your view on PLPs however, it appears that PLPs will be here to stay.