MVSD’s Independent Learning Center Granted Competency-Based Waiver from State Board of Education

MVSD ILC GraduatesOn Thursday, May 12, the Washington State Board of Education unanimously approved the Independent Learning Center’s Competency-Based Waiver request. The ILC is one of only four schools in the state of Washington at present to receive this waiver, providing student in the Methow Valley with multiple options in support of their learning!

The Independent Learning Center has evolved from being an alternative to another option for students based upon the unique approach to learning. Lead by an exceptional teaching staff and guided by the support provided by Big Picture Learning, ILC students are engaging in learning through what is described as a “competency-based approach” to teaching and learning. Simply put, student learning is no longer driven by credits toward graduation. Rather, fueled by the passions and interests of each individual student.

So what does this look and sound like? Each student:

  • Designs a personalized learning plan driving by individual interests.
  • Engages in project-based and action-oriented learning experiences.
  • Participates in real-world internships supervised and supported by community-based mentors.
  • Completes core coursework aligned to the Washington State Learning Standard.

How are students held accountable if they aren’t required to obtain credit?

  • Students are expected to exhibit their learning to a community-based panel of teachers, administrators, mentors, parents, and community members regularly throughout the year.
  • Students work closely with their advisor to show mastery of the competencies (knowledge and skills) developed through a combination of core coursework, projects, and internships.
  • Students are required to pass state assessments

Is this approach working? The data would suggest so…

  • The on-time graduation rate at the ILC has increased from 62% to 87% during the last three years
  • Graduates have been accepted to a variety of post-secondary educational programs
  • Perceptual data collected from students clearly indicates a growth mindset as reflected by their post-secondary plans to continue their education

If you wish to receive more information about the Independent Learning Center, it’s approach to teaching, and/or the enrollment process, please do not hesitate to contact Deborah DeKalb, Liberty Bell Principal.


Spring Break: Monday, April 3rd - Friday, April 7th - All MVSD schools and the district office will be closed to the public.