Last year, MMSD announced that there would be a new pathway introduced into our high schools. The Information and Technology Communication pathway, or ITC, offers an array of classes that fit the general theme. Some classes include graphic design, video production, and A.P. computer science. According to the MMSD website, our school hopes this pathway will “prepare our diverse students to seek out and solve problems as lifelong innovative learners.” IT jobs are predicted to grow faster than other industries in the next decade, so this pathway couldn’t come any sooner for our potential future web developers and software engineers.
The IT pathway will join the healthcare pathway in offering students a tailored path to success. However, many consider the healthcare pathway a let-down and unfair to non-pathway students. Teens within the program have the opportunity to receive earned honors. It is offered to students that take regular courses, but if they pass a test, the class goes down on their transcript as biology honors. It’s a great opportunity for those whose skill levels exceed the normal class, but not an option offered to non-pathway students. Additionally, AP World History was originally only offered to healthcare pathway members, but was opened up to all after several students complained.
Other complaints about the health oriented program included isolation. Classes besides electives are only with other pathway students. Some pathway students feel separated from the general student body, as they’re one large collective group and pathways is a subgroup. Adding more pathways could create additional subdivisions within grades.
However, students such as healthcare student and pathway ambassador Rauan Pritichard (11) sees the good within what some consider bad. “Pathways does isolate us from other people in our grade that aren’t in pathways. The only chance we get to see them would be through electives,” Pritchard said, “That’s not necessarily a bad thing. We are separated from the others because we are amongst a special group that looks to excel together in what we find interesting.”
Continuing with Pritchard’s statement, some students crave smaller learning communities, as teachers have less people to help and more time to form bonds with their students. Additionally, having the same people in your classes for four years helps form more solid connections with classmates. Pathways also provide real-world experiences, such as paid internships, enriching field trips, and college visits.
Any doubt about how the IT program could turn out is cleared up by the positivity Pritchard express about pathways. “I believe that Pathways has upheld its promises. In pathways, we have grown together as a community and we are constantly seeing progress within our collective whole.”
Ms.Mitlyng, Pathway Learning Coordinator, says that we are too early in the year to tell the effects of the IT pathway. However, by the end of the year, hopefully the pathway will have positive effects on the students, staff, and dynamic at La Follette.