By Andrea Conner, Loveland Director of Secondary Programs
If only educating our young people were as simple as plugging in coordinates on a GPS, then every graduate would know exactly what he/she wants to do after high school and have a defined plan detailing how to get there.
Well, Tiger Family… meet your new GPS: Academic Pathways.
Think of Academic Pathways as guiding maps for our students as they explore personal career interests and make connections to their course sequencing beginning in middle school. The district has clearly defined Academic Pathways for careers in: Arts, Audio/Video Technology and Communication; Business Management and Administration; Health Science; Information Technology (in partnership with University of Cincinnati); and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – with the phase-in of additional pathways in the 2018-2019 school year.
The Academic Pathways contain information about which courses are available at the middle school and high school that, in addition to meeting the core requirements, will be helpful in pursuing the chosen pathway. They also provide suggestions about opportunities for extended learning, such as job shadowing/mentoring and internship placements, as well as links to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ updated information about the various professions within the Academic Pathway. For instance, the Academic Pathway for business will tell you what courses you could take in middle school through graduation, and then define the career with sample job choices complete with expected pay.
With the expansion of Naviance, a college/career readiness tool, into grades six-eight, students will begin their college/career planning. This spring, sixth-grade students will explore various careers in the system and begin to create goals for themselves that will be refined throughout their educational experience in grades seven-12, as students will be revisiting their electronic portfolio in Naviance every year. By beginning Naviance work at the middle school, our students will have a greater opportunity in high school for more in-depth explorations and planning as they continue to make more detailed post-secondary plans.
Our buildings will equip parents with information to set up a special parent account in Naviance to share in this cutting-edge student journey.
Educating our Tigers is not as simple as plugging in set coordinates to find their set direction – we know this, but with parents and the school working together through assisting our students in making the connection between their academics and their passions, we can better support their post-secondary planning, and grow college and career-ready Tigers.
Andrea Conner is Director of Secondary Programs
for the Loveland City School District