Ten Things to Know

    1. We show students how their interests relate to careers, beginning in middle school. This foundational work includes using Naviance, a web-based college and career readiness platform, specific lessons and classroom exercises, support from middle school counselors, attendance in 8th grade at the Explore Expo, and exposure to the 16 nationally-recognized career clusters.
    2. The Educational Pathways initiative builds on that foundation and aims to provide high school students a way to explore a field of interest, earn early college/career credentials, and graduate with a plan for the next step in their journey. 
    3. The same five planned College and Career Academies will be established at each high school: Business, Fine Arts, STEM, Human Services, and Liberal Arts. Each Academy will house several Educational Pathways, a cohesive series of four to five classes students will take during their sophomore, junior, and senior years. 
    4. We expect that most students will identify a pathway at their home high school to meet their interests. If a student is interested in a pathway not offered at their home high school (typically because of highly-specific and expensive equipment related to a pathway, such as welding) they will have the option to transfer to the school where that pathway is offered. 
    5. Pathways will be designed with multiple entry and exit points to provide students the flexibility to change their pathway selection based on their evolving interests. However, depending on when the student changes their pathway selection, they may not be able to earn early college/career credentials offered in the new pathway.
    6. Pathways aim to make our high schools more conducive to building strong relationships among students and between students and staff by building smaller learning communities, or cohorts of students. Those connections matter and help us all feel safer, more confident, and prepared to succeed. Current academy students and alums talk about the important connections they made with friends and teachers during their academy experience.
    7. This initiative does not require students to choose a career for life or even their college major. It provides students the opportunity to explore their interests and possibilities for their future without the financial investment required by post-secondary education and training.
    8. Much of high school experience will remain the same. The District is not transitioning our high schools to a college-like structure. Students will still take all the required core classes for graduation, and they will still be able to meet the most rigorous college admission requirements. 
    9. We are working with the Alignment Collaborative for Education to continue to develop work-based learning experiences, including job shadowing and internships, across 11 communities and 90 square miles served by the District. 
    10. This is an exciting new initiative and we are sharing information as we build it to keep the U-46 Board of Education, our families, students, and community informed of our work, to listen and consider feedback from all partners, and to collaborate as a community.