Understanding the personal curriculum
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Understanding the Personal Curriculum. Why it is not a Special Education Thing. Reaching and Teaching All Michigan Students. Reality Check.

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Understanding the personal curriculum

Understanding the Personal Curriculum

Why it is not a Special Education Thing

Reaching and teaching all michigan students

Reaching and Teaching All Michigan Students

Reality check

Reality Check

  • “Internationally, the United States does not have the highest educational standards. However, we have the deepest commitment to equity…essential to a school’s success is absolute commitment to a rigorous and relevant curriculum for all students.”

    Bill Daggett



  • Preparing Michigan Students for Work and College Success are the same thing

  • Governor’s Goal - Double the number of college graduates in Michigan

  • Students success in college or the workplace is linked to high level courses in English, science and math beyond Algebra II

  • Rigorous requirements do not increase dropout rates

Understanding the personal curriculum

In the last 30 years, jobs have been redistributed: employment share and earnings have shrunk for high school drop outs

  • Until the 1970’s the United States’ economic dominance rested on a solid agricultural and manufacturing base where workers with high school or less could provide a comfortable living for their families

  • Today, ideas rather than natural resources comprise an increasing share in GDP growth


Employment share












High school drop outs

High school graduates

Some college, no degree

Associate degree

Bachelor’s degree

Graduate degree














Employment share


Source: Autor, Levy, Murnane, 2003; Carnavale (ETS), 2003

Schools do make a difference

Schools DO Make a Difference

  • Research of:

    • Larry Lazotte,

    • Wilbur Brookover

    • Michael Rutter

  • Conclude that:

    • All children can learn

    • Schools control the factors that assure mastery of the curriculum

Schools do make a difference1

Schools DO Make a Difference

  • Robert Marzano, What Works in Schools, 2003

    • An analysis of research conducted over a 35 year period demonstrates that schools that are highly effective produce results that almost entirely overcome the effects of student backgrounds.

Getting to credit

Getting to Credit

  • Credit must be aligned with subject area content expectations

Strategies to assist student success

Integrated instruction

Online learning

College credit opportunities

Work based learning

Project based learning

Flexible scheduling

Spiraled Curriculum

Peer coaching

Adult mentoring


Strategies to Assist Student Success

Options to meet mmc requirements

Options to Meet MMC Requirements

  • A PC is not necessarily needed for alternative instructional delivery methods and course work inclusive of MMC credit requirements for the following:

    • Humanities sequence

    • Career and technical education

    • Industrial technology courses

    • Dual enrollment, International Baccalaureate, AP courses

    • Alternative education programs

Guiding principles

Guiding Principles

  • The PC is one of many options to help students meet or exceed the MMC

  • The PC is the exception and agreed upon with thought and integrity

  • The PC is agreed upon and initiated by the parent/guardian or emancipated student

  • Educators are obligated to teach a challenging curriculum and prepare students for post secondary goals

  • The PC is an individualized plan for rigor and relevance based on the HSCE

  • The PC holds constant the graduation requirements, curriculum and content

  • The PC is consistent with SBE policy on Universal Education and Design for learning

Personal curriculum

Personal Curriculum

  • Legislative Requirements:

    • Agreement between the superintendent, parent/guardian, and the student

    • Developed by a team that must include at least

      • student

      • parent/guardian

      • counselor/designee

      • school psychologist should be included for students with disabilities

    • Meets as much of MMC (HSCE/CCE) as practicable

    • Aligned with the EDP

    • Measurable goals

    • Method to evaluate progress

    • Communication of progress with parent

Educational development plans

Educational Development Plans

  • The Board of a LEA or Board of Directors of a PSA:

    • Shall ensure each pupil in Grade 7 is provided with the opportunity to develop an EDP

    • The EDP shall be developed before the student enters high school

    • Shall be developed by:

      • Pupil

      • School counselor

      • School Psychologist should be included if the student has an IEP

Essential elements for edps

Essential Elements for EDPs

1.  Personal Information

2.  Career Goal(s)

3.  Educational/Training Goal(s)

4.  Assessment Results

5.  Plan of Action

6.  Parent Consultation/Endorsement

(under age 18)

Courtesy of: Christine Reiff, Office of Career and Technical Preparation

Drop out prevention

Drop Out Prevention

  • If a pupil is not successfully completing a credit required for graduation or is identified as being at risk of withdrawing from HS

    • The pupil's school district or PSA shall notify the pupil’s parents/guardian of the availability of:

      • tutoring or

      • other supplemental educational supports and counseling services

Mathematics modification

Mathematics Modification



Health and Physical Education and Visual, Performing and Applied Arts

  • Student takes additional credit beyond the required credits in English Language Arts, Math, Science, or World Languages

  • Health education and social skills programs improve school and test performance, attendance and school connectedness

  • Physical education, structured physical activity and higher fitness levels impact student achievement.



Social Studies

  • The third credit may be modified if the student takes an additional credit (beyond the required credits) in English Language Arts, Math, Science, or World Language

  • 2 credits required, including civics

Transfer students

Transfer Students

  • Student has successfully completed the equivalent of 2 years of high school credit out of state or at a nonpublic school.

    • Districts may use appropriate assessment examinations to determine what credits were earned out of state or at a nonpublic school

  • The Personal Curriculum incorporates as much of the subject area content expectations of the Michigan merit standard as is practicable.

  • Student successfully completes at least 1 mathematics credit during final year of high school.

    • Credit must be at least Algebra 1 if enrolled at least 1 year

    • Next credit above Algebra 1 if student has demonstrated success in Algebra1

  • Student must take Civics



  • No modifications in the following areas:

    • English Language Arts

    • Science

    • World Languages

    • Civics

    • Online Learning Experience

  • Exception – Students with a disability and transfer students

Subsection k

Subsection (k)

  • Permits consideration of modifications “not otherwise allowed”

    • PC allows some credit “swapping” and some content modification

  • Modification is subject to “demonstration that the modification is necessary because the pupil is a child with a disability”

  • Permits the modification “to be made to the extent necessary”

Subsection k cont

Subsection (k) cont.

  • The modification must be consistent with the Educational Development Plan and the Individualized Education Program

  • This determination is made by at least

    • student

    • parent/guardian

    • counselor/designee

    • school psychologist should be included for students with disabilities

Link to idea

Link to IDEA

  • If a pupil receives special education services, the pupil's IEP shall identify

    • the appropriate course or courses of study and

    • the supports, accommodations, and modifications necessary to allow the pupil to progress in the curricular requirements of the MMC or PC and meet the requirements for a diploma.



  • NCLB and IDEA 04 hold State and Public Agencies accountable for the performance of students with disabilities within a structure of state standards.

  • While it is allowable to account for growth and performance for some of these students on alternative achievement standards it is not appropriate to create a different path to graduation.



  • IDEA defines what is not a diploma and therefore defines what is a diploma.

    • Section 300.102(a)(3), regarding exceptions to FAPE, has been changed to clarify that a regular high school diploma does not include an alternative degree that is not fully aligned with the State’s academic standards, such as a certificate or a general educational development credential (GED).

  • In this context, nothing from the MDE can counter the accountability framework that NCLB and IDEA create.

Some things seems to be very clear

Some Things Seems to Be Very Clear

  • We cannot substitute alternative content and count achievement within that content towards the 18 credit requirements.

  • We cannot reduce the number of credits.

  • The IEP supports but does not trump the graduation requirements.

  • There are no plans for a Special Education curriculum that will lead to a separate diploma.

  • No such thing as a modified diploma.

  • Kids who don’t get a diploma are not doomed to fail in life.

  • Districts can issue alternative certificates but they do not end FAPE.

So where do we get answers

So where do we get answers?

  • There are two sets of guidance documents posted to the Office of School Improvement website.

  • Follow this link:


Understanding the personal curriculum


  • Start with the MDE website

    MDE - Michigan Department of Education


    Go to the “OFFICES” tab on the left side of the page

    Follow the School Improvement link

    Follow the Personal Curriculum Guidelines link

And now

And now …

  • Answers to your questions

Seac questions on personal curriculum

SEAC Questions on Personal Curriculum

Generated on January 9th 2008 in preparation for Personal Curriculum presentation to SEAC on February 6th, 2008

  • The latest versions of MDE’s Personal Curriculum Guidelines and examples documents can be found here:

  • http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,1607,7-140-6530_30334-178576--,00.html

Umbrella question

Umbrella Question:

Q: When and under what circumstances should a PC be considered for a student? When is it not necessary?

A: Page 39, Questions 1 and 2 of the FAQ section in the Supporting Materials and Examples

Additional questions

Additional Questions

Q: What is the school’s obligation to bring up the option of a PC at an EDT or IEP?

A: The school would be responsible for informing the parent of the personal curriculum as part of their general information sharing process regarding the graduation requirements.

Understanding the personal curriculum

Q: What is the role of the IEP with regards to MME?

A: Identifies which version of the exam the student will be assessed on and any modifications or accommodations that are necessary and permissible.

Understanding the personal curriculum

Q: How does the IEP/504 plan interface with the end of credit exams?

A: Identify accommodations and modifications

Understanding the personal curriculum

Q: Are there other ways besides to PC within the HS curriculum for students with IEPs to demonstrate the competencies required by MMC?

A: The PC has nothing to do with demonstrating competence.

Understanding the personal curriculum

Q: Is the PC framed around the student’s interests and capabilities/competencies?

A: The PC is a tool for making changes to the graduation requirements as identified in 1278a and 1278b. It “individualizes” the rigor of the student’s course of study as identified in the EDP. A good EDP should be based on sources of information that identify preferences, strengths and interests of students and families.

Understanding the personal curriculum

Q: How will the state (MDE) monitor the rate of students with PCs?

A: Through the SRSD - SDS

Understanding the personal curriculum

Q: What plans are there to develop a user-friendly guide to PC for parents and school staff? (user-friendly meaning <5 pages, not in .4 font, as jargon-less as possible etc.)

A: We are forming a group to do this as we speak.

Understanding the personal curriculum

Q: What provisions are there to balance more rigor in one area with less rigor somewhere else?

A: There are no “official” provisions. This is a decision that must be made and agreed to by the development team.

Understanding the personal curriculum

Q: How will consistency between districts (LEAs) be assured if LEAs each define their own end of credit exams?

Q: How will we deal with the issue of equity between district to district, and between program to program?

A: Data portraits. We must connect the dots between course of study, performance on the MME, graduation and postsecondary outcomes.

Understanding the personal curriculum

Q: What ISDs are coordinating efforts with their local districts with regard to MME? How are they doing that?

A: That’s a good question!

Contact information

Contact Information

Personal Curriculum

Deborah Clemmons [email protected]

Supervisor for Curriculum and Literacy

517-241-2479 – MDE OSI

Special Education

Matt Korolden [email protected]

Co-director, Secondary Redesign and Transition

517-241-3509 – MDE OSE/EI

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