What Keeps Pathway Planning Meaningful?
As we explain the transition to Colorado’s new graduation guidelines
, we reflect on the old system, where students graduated after spending a prescribed number of years to collect a prescribed number of credits in prescribed subjects. All students walked essentially the same road at the same pace and graduated at the same time.
In the new system, which our district calls 49Pathways
, students will graduate after designing their pathway, completing a series of classes, participating in work-based experiences, earning industrial certifications, presenting capstone projects, and achieving assessment results that demonstrate mastery of the knowledge and skills they will need to be successful. Instead of trading years and credits for a diploma, D49 students will earn a diploma for completing the unique pathway specified in their Pathway Plan. Every student will navigate their own path at their own pace toward the destination that matters most to them. To take advantage of special opportunities like career and technical education, concurrent enrollment, internships, or personalized capstone projects, students must work with their parents, teachers, and a trained advisor to select the learning experiences that help them demonstrate mastery.
Pathway Planning advisories give students a structure to help them know their destination, celebrate their progress, and keep moving forward. Students who want to take advantage of free tuition and early college enrollment will need to demonstrate academic and personal readiness. Students who choose a pathway through career and technical education will complete job shadowing and career inventories to match their interests to academic opportunities. For students who thrive in diverse academic settings, D49 offers a portfolio of traditional, honors, blended, online, and individualized classes, beginning in middle school and continuing through high school based on each student’s unique needs.
The Pathway Plan will include far more than traditional courses. With assessments, career prep and college courses, internships, industry certifications, capstone projects, and financial planning all unified in a single plan, a student’s Pathway Plan is both meaningful and a powerful guide on the path to independence and success.