Letter from the Principal

Dear families,

With the school year well underway at Pathways Middle College, we hope you and your child are enjoying the fall! 

As you know, every year we go through a reflection process to ensure we continue to raise the bar for all students. Every year we implement some changes at school to improve outcomes and ensure each and every student is being challenged. We’re committed to teaching not only subject knowledge, but lifelong skills and habits that will set them up to lead happy and successful lives. 

Over the past few months, I’ve been so encouraged by what I’ve seen in our classrooms and I know the  hard work is getting us closer to our vision of providing an innovative, seamless, and quality education for high potential, motivated students, grades 9-12, and graduates them from high school while successfully completing an Associate Degree.  Many of you have attended student led conferences, had 1:1 meetings with us and engaged around what these improvements mean for your student. I want to continue to give you more insight into what’s going on in the classroom and share ways you can support your student. As a starting point, over the next few weeks, we’ll share information via email in bite size pieces to keep the conversation going. As always, our doors are always open.

What do our classrooms look like today? Students spend their time in one of three ways:

  • Engaged in hands-on projects that give them opportunities to develop important skills like collaboration, interpreting data, and presenting an argument. 
  • Meeting one-on-one with their dedicated mentor, a teacher who supports them in setting and achieving their personal goals. 
  • Developing their lifelong “self-direction” skills—setting goals, making plans, and reflecting on their learning.

You have likely seen your child working on the Summit Learning Platform – the tool that helps organize their learning materials.  There, they make their way through resources, learning basic concepts before taking that knowledge and applying it to the world around them through a challenging project.  Through this process, they’re able to learn in ways that best suit them, before the teacher teaches them how to contextualize what they’ve learned in a hands-on project.

As a result of how projects are structured (reflecting the real-world) students are graded not only on what they’ve learned (subject knowledge) but how they apply it – namely, their ability to master cognitive skills that research has proven students need to be successful in life – skills like analysis, presentation, and writing. 

Because of this approach, when you receive your student’s grades in early October, they may look different than they have in the past. We believe that our grading method gives parents and students a clearer view of where a student is particularly strong and where they have areas for improvement.  In addition, instead of showcasing their knowledge in a one-time test, a student’s grade is semester-long, meaning they’ve plenty of opportunities to improve over the course of the semester before being awarded their final grade.

Later this week, we’re going to send you further information to help you understand your student’s overall progress. In the meantime, thank you for supporting your child and Pathways Middle College, and please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or feedback you may have.

Best wishes,

Christopher D. McAdoo

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