• Laura Jones

Personal Curriculum (PC); A path to graduation and success in Michigan

When a student in special education is struggling, there can be reasons why they are not finding success which relate their disability. The fact of a disability is that it will not change or magically disappear and therefore can create lasting and ongoing affects for a child trying to complete high school. Supports sometimes are not enough, and there need to be fundamental changes to the way a curriculum is delivered or assessed, or both, which provide a student the opportunity to gain the knowledge required and to show mastery of the required subject.


Teachers still provide instruction to students with a PC

The fact is that a high school diploma is important for the life long independence and success of every student. PC recognizes this fact and provides students with necessary other options for achieving a diploma within the Michigan Merit Curriculum (MMC)


"A PC can be used to modify any content within the MMC for a student with an IEP if he or she needs it in order to access and achieve in the MMC " - Michigan Department of Education

The implementation of a PC can be a great way for a student in special education to achieve subject mastery, earn their credits for a diploma and graduate high school in Michigan. It is a valid and often essential pathway for a student to succeed in school.


A PC may be developed for any class where the disability of the student creates a blockade for learning as the curriculum is presented or as it is assessed, after other typically provided instructional strategies, supports, and interventions available to students have been unsuccessful. This can be tricky if your school district is inflexible in instruction and content delivery and provides few different instructional strategies, supports and interventions. In that case, it is advisable to obtain support from an agency like Michigan Protection and Advocacy, Michigan Alliance for Families or a professional education advocate.



How to begin the process? You start by notifying your district in writing of the need you see for your child to have a PC in classes. This can begin as early as 7th grade, but is only implemented for high school curriculum classes. The process can begin in 7th grade as it is often apparent that adequate progress will not be possible with the MMC. That can set a student up for immediate success in high school. The PC must include as much of the MMC as possible. Measurable goals and an evaluation process must be clearly stated in the PC.


In general schools are tasked with helping all students succeed and achieve a high school diploma. The PC is one way of making that success a reality for some students.



For further reference:

  1. A Parents Guide to Personal Curriculum https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/Focus_of_Students_with_an_IEP_482098_7.pdf

  2. Michigan Department of Education reference Desk for PC: https://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140-6530_30334_49879---,00.html

  3. Ingham County ISD PC Site - particularly well done and a good reference :https://www.inghamisd.org/ouracademics/instruction/personalcurriculum/

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