Pathways to Success
In School District U-46, the mission “Academic Success for All” is more than a motto. It drives our daily work, and that includes a vision to expand the number of small learning communities within our high schools.
The U-46 community already recognizes the success of small learning communities through its current High School Academies. Many graduates of these academies credit their success to the small learning communities, even those who now work in a field other than their Academy’s area of focus. The transferable workforce skills, the ability to apply what they have learned, the guidance of faculty and support of peers all made a difference in their career trajectory.
School District U-46 wants to make these small learning communities available to all students. We believe all our students deserve a creative, supportive environment where they will have access to the most engaging and relevant coursework.
Following valuable input from parents and community members in the spring of 2018, U-46 administrators presented to the Board of Education in September 2018 a revised plan to develop College and Career Academies for all high school students. To allow parents and guardians to learn more about these plans, the District held six informational sessions in late October and early November at U-46 high schools and middle schools. Another update was provided to the Board of Education in February 2019.
The College and Career Academies will be designed to prepare U-46 students for the rigors of college and tomorrow’s career skills. The updated plan calls for all U-46 high schools to each house the same five academies, with the focus being Arts, Humanities, Liberal Arts, Business, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).
Under those Academies will be Educational Pathways, a multi-year sequence of courses that will prepare students for post-secondary success. Students will be able to explore a field of interest as elective courses their sophomore, junior and senior year while still taking core classes and meeting the most rigorous college admission requirements. Each College and Career Academy will house multiple educational pathways, and while some pathways might be offered at each school, others might be unique to only one or two buildings based on necessary site or equipment requirements.
The work involved in moving to all-Academy model has been in the works for the past couple of years, and it includes the adoption of Naviance, a web-based college and career readiness platform for use in middle school and high school; a partnership with the Alignment Collaborative for Education; the addition of guidance counselors this year to the District’s eight middle schools; and Explore, the District’s annual curriculum and career expo, which was recently hosted at the Sears Centre.
The new proposal addresses several concerns about moving high school students by placing the same Academies at all five of the District’s high schools, ensuring students can stay at their home school among childhood friends and still have access to their academy of choice. Additionally, the plan gives the District an additional year of planning before launching the proposed College and Career Academies in ninth grade for the current 6th graders who will be freshmen in 2021-22, rolling up each subsequent year.
During the Sept. 24 presentation to the Board of Education, Lela Majstorovic, Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools Instruction and Equity, walked through a timeline of steps that will be taken as the District moves toward College and Career Academies. Those include a committee to develop specific pathways and their course sequences; a committee to determine entry and exit criteria for pathways not offered at each building; decisions on potential capital projects; and a professional development plan for teachers, administrators and other staff members.
As the work toward College and Career Academies progresses, we invite you to read this website section and learn more about our vision to develop College and Career Academies that provide students with the four Rs: rigor, relevance, relationships and readiness for college and career.
This section also shares the reasons for moving toward a new secondary system that better supports students as well as our local, regional and state economy with strong graduates who are ready to compete and collaborate in the 21st century global economy.
More information on Educational Pathways can be found in this flyer. You can also check out the Nothern Kane County Regional Pathways website that contains career pathways available to all District U-46 students.
Educational Pathways Update to the Board- February 25, 2019
Bartlett High School
Elgin High School
Larkin High School
South Elgin High School
Streamwood High School