On August 19, 2020

Concerned about school reopening?

Consider an alternative way to earn a high school diploma

Dear Editor,

Vermont schools are preparing for September openings amid Covid-19. School administrators, in consultation with staff, families and public health officials, have been working hard to reinvent our educational systems in ways that provide students with rich learning, while keeping students, staff and the public safe. While some schools are looking at returning to in-person classes, others are planning to continue virtual instruction; most are expecting to use some combination of in-person and virtual instruction. Social distancing and frequent sanitizing will be the new normal in schools. Some students will adjust easily and thrive in this new normal; some students will struggle.

Families are seeking alternatives for their students. If they have means, they may choose to dip into their pockets to hire private teachers for their children or small “pods” of children from a few families. Vermont is experiencing a significant uptick in parents applying to homeschool their children. Articles about “Unschooling,” an informal learning practice that advocates for learner- chosen activities, appear in the national press.

Vermont’s educational system provides alternatives.

For students 16 years old and older, Vermont Adult Learning is one of those alternatives. Vermont Adult Learning offers a flexible pathway for students to earn a high school diploma via free services tailored to their individual learning needs. With a range of options, from tech center courses to independent studies, students work with an academic advisor to craft an educational pathway that meets their goals and learning needs while also meeting their high schools’ graduation requirements. We provide small classes, 1:1 supports and intensive academic advising, allowing for career exploration and bridges to continuing education or the workforce. We work closely with the high school throughout the process and, in the end, students earn their diploma from their local high school.

Every student deserves a quality education tailored to their unique needs and goals. Providing that is challenging in the best of times. As Vermont’s educational community works to restructure our systems to continue providing services in a world changed by a global pandemic, Vermont Adult Learning and Vermont’s other adult education providers are here to help ensure as many students as possible get the education they deserve.

Our passion to help students succeed drives our work. We are here to help, one aspiring student at a time. Find us at vtadultlearning.org.

Hal Cohen, executive director for Vermont Adult Learning

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