Choosing an academic pathway

Jessica Fein, Staff Writer

Academic Pathways Night was held on November 22 and discussed all of the different academic pathways available for juniors and seniors. 

An academic pathway is a conglomerate of courses that should be chosen based on a student’s dream job and personal interests. The six current pathways are the IB Diploma Programme, the IB Career-Related Programme, Dually Enrolled Courses, Wilson Tech Programs, Project Lead the Way (PLTW), and internship programs. The Academic Pathways act as a guideline that determines the specifics of a student’s schedule to help prepare them. These pathways also allow students to have the opportunity to try out new classes before starting a career or entering college.

“It’s that idea of trying things on and realizing ‘yes, this is for me’ or ‘no, this isn’t for me,’” said principal Carrie Lipenholtz.

One of the options for juniors and seniors is the Wilson Tech Program. This is considered a half-day program, meaning half of the day is spent at school, and the other half at Wilson Tech. There are 36 different programs offered in Wilson Tech, teaching a wide variety of vocational skills.

“We have kids that are doing cosmetology, we have kids that are doing vet tech, some students are doing airplane repair,” said Lipenholtz.

A second pathway for students is Project Lead the Way (PLTW). This program is engineer based and includes STEM learning. There are four different PLTW courses, each specializing in different areas of engineering. This is not only a great opportunity for students interested in engineering, but also for anyone who wants to learn more about how to effectively solve problems.

Another pathway option for juniors and seniors are the internship programs. Internships take place during or after school hours. There is an array of options offered in this program; from dental to law to education for primary and intermediate grades. 

“The internship program is wonderful for students to participate in because it allows them to explore a career that they might be interested in pursuing at the high school level,” said head of work study Diane Nelson. 

The IB Diploma Programme is mostly taken by students that don’t have a defined career pathway, but want to experience more challenging courses. 

The dually enrolled courses are ideal for students that want to experience taking college level courses before entering college.

The final pathway is the IB Career-Related Programme. The program currently consists of business administration and STEM. Next academic year, health sciences and fine arts will also be offered.

“The way we chose those pathways was utilizing courses that have a college affiliation, so those courses are a little more challenging. We were able to lump them together in the same pathway to align with students’ [interests],” said director of Guidance Nicole Kregler.

One required course in this programme is the Personal and Professional Skills (PPS) course, which focuses on researching and citing sources. 

“They’re working onnot even so much academicbut life skills, like being able to present, being able to have conversations, working on their resume, going on an interview,” said Kregler. 

Students have many options to help prepare them for their future endeavors. 

“I wish I had this when I was in high school,” said Lipenholtz. 🔳