The weekly schedule balances the delivery of curriculum content with independent work periods. IWP is a tool to help our students to develop their own time management skills, their self-advocacy skills and also to do some in-depth study. There is a clear expectation that the students are working during IWP but which project they choose to work on is up to them. For those who need support to know what to work on, directing them to their agenda often helps them to recognize the work that is before them and also reinforces the use of their agenda as an important time management tool. Often, but not always, the amount of homework that the students have is closely related to how effectively and efficiently they use their IWP, an interesting point for self-reflection that can be the catalyst for change. IWP is a time when students are free to choose which work they would like to work on. Freedom, however, comes with accountability.
The adults are available to the students during IWP, which provides the students with the opportunity to recognize any support they need and seek out that support, an important life skill. For those who are developing their self-advocacy skills, IWP provides the adults with a time to seek out the students who we feel need further support or clarifications and to provide individual and small group instruction. While a group of adolescents can certainly be loud, IWP is often a time that is certainly not silent; our adolescents love to collaborate with one another and there is often an inspiring buzz in the room.