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A Statewide School Reform Gains Fans and Concerns While Letting Students Learn at Their Own Pace

Troy Paradee loves going to school. He loves “the excitement about all the things I’m getting to learn.” Jocelyn Foran can’t wait to get to her classroom either: “We are learning so much more and it’s so much more fun and creative.”

Paradee and Foran are among the surprise beneficiaries of a statewide effort in Vermont to “personalize” learning: They are teachers who say that their jobs have become far more rewarding by giving students greater freedom to choose what to learn both in and out of school.

Foran’s seventh-grade students at Mount Abraham Union Middle High School in Bristol start each day with an hour of what’s called “ME Time” (for Mastery and Exploration). “They can pick any topic that they want,” said Foran, now in her eighth year of teaching.