Students will study 24 Core Skills in three areas: academics, life skills and parenting. Each Core Skill is worth one credit. Students are encouraged to think about each topic as it pertains to being a parent and responsible adult. Prior to starting their studies, the teacher will review a students’ credit transcript from their sending school to assess what courses meet Passages’ Core Skill requirements. Students can also petition for a waiver of a Core Skill if they feel they have enough life experience to cover the objectives of that Core Skill. To receive a waiver they must write up a transcript that outlines their knowledge of the Core Skill and why they believe they deserve a waiver. Students may request up to four waivers.
Planning: With their teacher a student will review their current experience and understanding of the topic, to identify areas they need or would like to increase their knowledge, experience, and skills. What do they know? What do they want or need to know?
Challenge / Opportunity: Each core skill has some questions listed. As a student explores these questions, they combine their present knowledge and experience with new research that they do. Students are challenged to face a fear, take a risk, develop a skill, or do a creative project. Students are encouraged to try new things and look deeply into each question.
Resources: Suggested websites are provided (and constantly updated) at the bottom of each core skill sheet. Students do further research on the web, in the library, and by interviewing experts in the field they are studying. Students also have access to books from the Passages library.
Transcript: Students discuss with their teacher whether they have met the objectives of the core skill. If so, they write a transcript which is a reflective essay speaking to what they discovered in exploring the questions posed and what ideas or questions grew out of their study (including references to books or articles they read, websites they found helpful, people they interviewed, etc.). Once approved by their teacher, students may consider the core skill completed.
Each Core Skill is intentionally designed to be self-directed, learner-centered and project-based. Becoming a parent touches on all areas of a student’s life and is reflected and covered in all twenty-four Core Skills. With guidance from the teacher, each student creates a individualized learning plan using the process outlined above.