Back in November 2017, we followed Vivek, then a ninth grade student in Personalized Pathways at West High School to explore what a typical day was for our Pathways students in our feature "A Day in the Life." Two years and an additional Pathway option later, we thought it was time to go back in and see what’s the same, what’s new, and how Pathways has evolved.
This time we shadowed Harmony, a tenth grade student at Memorial High School in the Health Services Pathway. Harmony showed us what she’s currently working on in her classes and talked to us about her experiences so far. Here’s a quick peek into another day in the life of a Personalized Pathways student.
The application to enroll in a Personalized Pathway is available now on our website.
Remind me: What is Personalized Pathways?
Personalized Pathways isn’t a program; it’s the way we do high school here in the Madison Metropolitan School District. Core classes – English, science, social studies and sometimes math – have a common theme woven through them, and teachers work on teams to develop curriculum to connect the classes and incorporate the learning from each class into one project. Students also get additional opportunities related to that theme, such as field trips or classroom visits from industry leaders and community partners.
Students entering high school currently have the option to select from the following options: Health Services, Information Technology & Communication, or Traditional. Traditional is how we normally think of school. When students choose Health Services or Information Technology & Communication, they learn in a close-knit community, set academic goals, explore college and career options and tackle challenging classes, all around that broad theme.
In this Pathway, the theme of health services is woven into all of Harmony’s core classes. She hopes to someday enter the health services field, though she’s not quite sure in which profession yet. Harmony likes the Health Services Pathway because she sees the same students in all her Pathways classes, giving her the opportunity to be part of a close-knit community within the larger school community. She also likes that her teachers all talk to each other so they can work together to support each student’s individual needs.
Information Technology & Communications
While Harmony went to some of her electives – Spanish 3 and Film Studies – we popped into a couple classes that are offered as part of the Information & Communications Technology Pathway at Memorial: Pixels & Vectors, an art class, and Bits & Bytes, a computer programming class.
In Pixels & Vectors, students were working in photoshop to edit pictures, design a personal logo and create animated gifs, skills that are desired, and often required, in communications and marketing fields today.
In Bits & Bytes, students were learning a computer program called Snap to program robots. Hear what one student had to say about it:
If you want to learn more about the classes offered at each of our high schools, make sure to visit their page on the Pathways website. Each Pathway’s goals and learning outcomes are clearly defined, and programs of study help students determine their course schedule and whether the Pathway is right for them:
Enrollment into a Pathway for the 2020-21 school year is open now. The priority deadline to enroll is January 24. You can learn more at mmsd.org/pathways.