- Pathway Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I get into a pathway?
- What does it mean to be in a pathway?
- Can I Switch Pathways?
- Do Pathways prepare students for college with A-G credits?
- What if I don't want to go to college; are pathways for me?
HOW DO I GET INTO A PATHWAY?
Pathway recruitment is done at both middle schools and in 9th grade classes; some pathways begin in grade 9 and some in grade 10. At De Anza High School, for example, all of the pathways begin in grade 10. In grade 9, students all take a journalism class that devotes some time to exploration of the different pathways. The Arts & Media pathways generally start in grade 10, with a recommendation that students take an art class in grade 9. IT pathways formally start in grade 10, but it is recommended that students begin with a general computer applications or computer science course.
Students may transfer to another high school in the district if they want to be in a pathway that is not offered at the resident high school. As long as you stay in the pathway and do well, you can remain at the transfer school.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN A PATHWAY?
Being in a pathway means that you will create and update a college & career plan each year. You will explore various careers in the field online and through “Day in the Life of” videos, and converse with professionals on and off your campus. Students generally go on at least one field trip each semester to tour businesses and do experiential visits. In 11th grade, students meet with mentors several times a year; after their junior year, we focus on getting students summer internships to work on projects using pathway skills. Once in an internship, someone from the district will be checking in to make sure everything is going well and that students are meaningfully engaged.
While in a pathway, you may also visit colleges, with a special focus on majors in their pathway. In grade 11, pathway students create a resume and cover letter to prepare for a career fair, jobs and/or internships. Students also practice their interviewing skills, with help from professionals. Frequently, junior and senior pathway students will receive feedback on their projects by a professional in the field. By senior year, several pathway students will be able to receive college credits from their pathway course. Service learning, a graduation requirement, is focused on a project related to the pathway field of study.
CAN I SWITCH PATHWAYS?
Pathway courses are sequential and students are expected to stay in their pathways until their senior year. If a student finds after sophomore year that the pathway isn’t quite for them, they may transfer out of the pathway, and possibly into another pathway. There is a formal process for this, which involves the student writing a letter to explain their reasoning. This must also be signed by parents or guardians. Then, the releasing pathway lead teacher and the new pathway lead teacher must agree on the switch. Some catch-up work may be required in order for a student to be able to start in a pathway in grade 11.
DO PATHWAYS PREPARE STUDENTS FOR COLLEGE WITH A-G CREDITS?
Yes, all of our career tech education courses are A-G and considered to be college prep classes. Pathway schedules still allow students to take advantage of Advanced Placement classes.
WHAT IF I DON'T WANT TO GO TO COLLEGE; ARE PATHWAYS FOR ME?
Yes, pathway students are better prepared to go to business schools of any sort, military, or straight into jobs utilizing their pathway skills.