Students are finding that college style pathways bridge high school classes and careers, and they are starting the new year following a new path.
Starting this year in Portland Oregon, there will be a choice of four career pathways for students in grades 10-12. These pathways are funded by a $5.1 million dollar grant which is divided among Portland’s fouir high schools.
During freshman year, students will participate in “Freshman Academy” which will be a foundation for skills students need through high school and life, according to Principal Deborah Migneault.
In the sophomore year, students will then take an introductory course to one of the pathways. She said the new pathways are modeled after a Johns Hopkins University talent development model, and it is coming in phases.
Migneault said Portland High has been discussing the pathways since she became principal four years ago. She said the pathways will include classes based on career interests, job shadowing and possibly internships.
The four pathways are creative and performing arts, health and natural sciences, law and public service, and engineering, architecture and trades.
Migneault said students will not be confined to any particular pathway if they want something broader or change their minds. She said if a student in one particular pathway wants to take a course from a different pathway, they will be able, and if a student just wants to study “liberal arts,” he or she is free to do so.
“We’re not trying to pigeonhole kids,” she said. “They can explore various fields if they want.”
Migneault said the pathways will not change the core graduation requirements. Students will still have to take four years of English, four years of math, and three years of science, but there are various electives students can take to fulfill those courses.