Graduation pathways: new roads to success



Standardized testing can bring a lot of stress to students, but with the new implementation of Pathways toward graduation, that stress does not have to be so bad.

Mrs. Lisa Laug, guidance director, explained Pathways and the ultimate goal of them. She will be meeting with all current juniors, sophomores, and freshmen as well as current 8th graders to explain new graduation options, including Pathways. Basically, students decide subjects that interest them and take multiple classes within those areas.

“Graduation Pathways are a goal throughout the entire state of Indiana that when students leave high school they have the academic skills they need, the employability skills they need, and a path for the plan of what they think they want to be doing,” she said.

Passing ISTEP has been a requirement in the past, but the Pathways will give students who struggle with standardized testing another way to graduate.

“For previous classes, they had to pass ISTEP, and if they had not passed, they had to keep retaking it. With the new pathways, it is more individualized where they can find whatever path works for them,” Mrs. Laug

The state has specific Pathways defined, but GHS received approval for a unique locally-created Pathway called Fine Arts because the music, art and journalism programs at GHS are so strong.

“Within the Fine Arts Pathway, the areas are journalism, visual arts, choir and band. Students can focus on and have a specialty in those areas and use that as their competency that they are checking off for their graduation Pathways,” Mrs. Laug said.

The state created a general plan for public schools in Indiana to follow, but GHS wanted to include other adjustments for students, so they submitted a proposal.

“The state approved a base plan for the Fine Arts pathway, and then we as a school looked at that and said we would like to adapt that for our school, so we went in and made some changes. We took the initial Pathways and went to add journalism. The state approved these changes, and so now our plan is specific to our school, so no other schools can use our plan without getting it approved by the state,” Mrs. Laug said.

GHS was also approved to make adjustments to the order students are able to take the required classes for the pathway.

“The initial pathway said you would have to take beginning, intermediate and advanced versions of certain classes, but we proposed for students to be able to advance to those higher versions of the classes if they are ready,” Mrs. Laug said.

The Pathways approach is are available for current seniors are if they have been struggling to pass ISTEP. Their counselors have provided these options already.

Students will begin scheduling within the next few weeks, so selecting a Pathway should be seen as creating a base plan for the future. Students to consider their options and have conversations with their counselors. If a student decides to change a Pathway in the future, it is possible as long as they can get all the required classes in by the end of senior year.

“I would encourage students to think about what they want to do in the future and what classes relate to that here in the building. Students need to make sure they are really taking the time thinking about that because many elective classes are moving to year-long classes instead of just semester classes. This makes the planning and the scheduling of classes so important because students will not be able to change their minds as easily after one semester,” Mrs. Laug said.