By Kori Stack

IEPs. This term has always bothered me; it never made sense why only children with learning differences have an IEP. After all, the term stands for Individualized Education Plan (or Program). Shouldn’t every child’s educational journey be individualized?

Individual Is Not Practical in Traditional Education

The problem is that in society, we sometimes do what is more convenient rather than what is right. It’s not practical in traditional education, i.e., the factory model, to individualize each learner’s educational plan. In traditional education, everyone learns the same thing at the same time for the purpose of efficiency. But, if you’ve ever met 2 people even with the same parents, living under the same roof (heck, even identical twins for that matter), you know just how different each individual is. So why do we insist on educating young people in the same way?

Individual Education for Each & Every Learner

At Acton, we believe in individualized education plans 100%, but for each and every learner! This is not to say that everyone won’t learn some of the same material, but the timeline of when that happens is based on who that learner is as an individual. We have learners of the same age in vastly different spots, but no one is ahead or behind, they are all exactly where they need to be for them because everyone’s development is unique. We work towards improvement and progress for each individual with an understanding that there is never such thing as “done” because learning and education is a life-long journey.

Learners Discover and Lean Into Their Passions

And what about passions? At Acton, we let our learners lean into their passions by first exposing them to a wide variety of trades and crafts and then letting them try out what fits for them with apprenticeships each year (starting around the age of 11). This allows them to try out a passion to see if it’s something they would like to pursue (as a hobby or career). Because again, we believe that each child’s educational journey should be, first and foremost…individualized.