HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A pilot program of learning is proving successful in Holyoke.
“They’ve come a long way and they really take pride and ownership over their learning and what they’ve accomplished,” said Kendra Salvador, principal at the William R. Peck Full Service Community School in Holyoke.
In the second year of Holyoke Public School’s state receivership, about 90 6th and 7th graders at Peck were selected for the P3 program. It stands for Personalized Pathways Program, and is just that – personalized.
Instead of learning in a traditional group setting, these students focus on learning independently. P3 is funded through state, city and private money. A powerful computer platform, programmed by Facebook, tracks students’ progress and helps them develop skills. “…Make that feel a part of what they do every day and reward them with a lot of praise, and a lot of encouragement, and in some cases, a lot of ‘you need to get this done now’ – what we call accountability,” Tom Pandiscio, the program director at Peck and project manager at SchoolWorks, told 22News. SchoolWorks supports the implementation of the P3 program at Peck. Pandiscio said if they comply to the Summit Schools’ Basecamp, the Personalized Learning Platform and curriculum are provided for free.
22News observed one class having a “personalized learning time,” or PLT. During that time, students were quiet and working on their Google Chromebooks. Some were working on math lessons while others were finishing up essays or English lessons. One student at a time was able to meet with a mentor to discuss their accomplishments in the past week and their goals for the week ahead.
P3 classes are separate from the rest of the school. One mentor and P3 English teacher, Jordan Baillargeon, said standardized test scores have improved. She noticed a difference in the confidence levels among her 6th grade students last year who are now 7th grade students in the P3 program. “This year we’re either matched up with all the other schools that have taken it [standardized tests], or in some cases we’re even a little bit ahead, which is amazing and we’ve had big growth in our reading and comprehension,” Baillargeon told 22News.
Next school year, the program will be implemented throughout Peck. But Principal Kendra Salvador says she does understand it’s not for everyone. She said, “Not one size fits all so while personalized learning is great for some kids, it might not be the best delivery model for all students so this year we offered both and next year, we’ll still have options.”
P3 is one of many ways Holyoke Public Schools is trying to improve education under state receivership.
For more information on P3, click here.