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Federal Way's Truman High School to undergo program change

Federal Way Public Schools - Courtesy Federal Way Public Schools
Federal Way Public Schools
— image credit: Courtesy Federal Way Public Schools

Truman High School will unveil a new program next fall for its students, called the “Life Prep Flex” program.

The program will be in a “blended learning” model, which involves a mix of online learning and more traditional learning methods, and will mostly replace the current “Career Academy” model at Truman, according to Adam Kulaas, principal at Truman Career Academy.

“We offer an opportunity or an educational path for our students that highlights relationships, they highlight smaller learning environments in a non-traditional structure,” Kulaas said during the Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) board meeting on Tuesday. “Tonight I’m here to present a program that will open in the fall of 2014, entitled Life Prep Flex. It is a blended program.”

Kulaas said Truman will continue to “serve all kids” and that Life Prep Flex won’t change that reality “in terms of this blended option we’ll be offering to our kids.” Kulaas said the new program will target ninth and 10th graders, but qualified those designations by pointing out that at Truman, those terms refer to credits completed, and not by what year they should be in or by their age.

Kulaas highlighted that this program is the result of an intense process involving students desires, and studying various blended learning programs throughout the nation that are already seeing success.

Kulaas summarized the shift and its implied benefit as “a learning model that places the student in the center of the learning process.”

“So in their online content, (students) are attached to a Federal Way certificated teacher, across the board. Whether it’s an English class or a Spanish class, they’ll have access, anytime, anywhere,” Kulaas said. “They’re also on-site at Truman. There will be three certificated teachers in the areas of mathematics, humanities and social studies. We’ll run those three, on-site certificated teachers.”

There will also be coaches/facilitators available to students.

Kulaas noted that one of the strengths he perceives from this shift in educational programming is the ability to create personalized learning plans.

“Students will go through a process that allows them to identify what they’re doing and what they want to do. It will allow us to capture their baselines, so they can celebrate momentum in terms of growth across the academic areas,” he said.

Kulaas said this new program will also focus on the idea of student entrepreneurship, whether that’s defined by its more traditional meaning, or some of the newer meanings that have been given to the word in recent years.

“With things that we’ve introduced as a district to our students, they’re starting to explore the idea of ‘social’ entrepreneurs, or ‘creative’ entrepreneurs, and thinking outside of the box of solely making money,” he said. “(It’s) the idea of allowing them or providing them a platform that allows them to chase dreams, or chase ideas and things that may not exist yet.”

The school day will be split into two parts, one part of the day in the more traditional setting of being in a classroom and doing work. The second part of the day will be more non-traditional, where students will collaborate “in groups with students of similar interests, academic and personal.”

“We have brilliant kids in our district, and it’s about creating an opportunity to serve every one of them under one roof,” Kulaas concluded.

To learn more about the Life Flex Program, visit https://schools.fwps.org/life.

 

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