Forest Hill High School senior Elise McKendry and junior Alexandra Lessard spoke at the Mass Customized Learning National Alliance’s 2017 National Summit in July in Portland.

Forest Hills High School in Jackman is one of six Maine schools that will graduate its class of 2018 with proficiency-based diplomas. During their two-session presentation, “The Final Outcome: High School Learners Present on Their Experiences Graduating in a Proficiency-Based, Customized Learning System,” the girls talked about the work they have accomplished as well as concepts of growth mindset and voice and choice, according to a news release from the school.

They also shared their joys and were candid about their sorrows regarding transitioning and navigating in a proficiency-based, standards-based, learner-centered system.

“I was really scared coming into it, but it was definitely a worthwhile experience for me as well as for all the people who attended our sessions. I hope we helped answer people’s questions in understanding Proficiency Based Education better, Lessard said, according to the release.

“The conference was a great experience because it gave us the chance to share our ideas, opinions and experiences with educators from across the country. It was comforting to hear that many students are in similar situations and that people are working tirelessly to improve the system. The people we spoke to were very receptive and encouraging. Overall, it was a great experience,” McKendry said according to the release.

MCL’s mission reflects a new vision of education by providing tools to meet individual student needs through personalization of instruction, ultimately creating the ideal learning experience, according to the release.

The summit highlights the work of learners, facilitators and leaders who have been designing and transforming their school systems. Summit participants were given the opportunity to expand their knowledge, strategies, processes, resources, tools and professional network.

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