UNION, NJ – Freshmen students entering Union High School in the fall will be the first with an opportunity to participate in the new Pathways program recently developed by Union High School administrators.
Randi Moran, Language Arts Supervisor, said she and Jeremy Cohen, Mathematics Supervisor, along with new High School Principal Mark Hoyt, conducted research, visited other high schools and pulled information from various educational areas to put together the Pathways program. Moran said Union’s will be a unique program. “We took all the great pieces of what we learned, fit them to our school and our population, and developed this program.”
The program, open to every student, offers incoming freshmen the opportunity to pursue a focused course of study that affords students a rich and competitive background in a particular area of study, according to Cohen.
The Pathways program will be offered to incoming 2020 freshmen -- the Class of 2024. The offerings will include:
- STEM Pathway: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
- GLP3: Government, Law, and Public Policy Pathway
- BAM Pathway: Business Administration and Management
- VCAP Pathway: Visual/Creative Arts and Performance
Hoyt said when students declare an intent to pursue one of the Pathways they will have their courses mapped out for them for the next four years.
The optional program is designed to provide interested students the chance to demonstrate a commitment to an area of study in greater depth than a traditional high school program. Pathway students will be given multiple opportunities to meet with college representatives, engage with guest speakers in applicable fields, and, in the future, explore internship opportunities within the community specific to their area of interest. Hoyt said students will be able to earn certification in particular courses of study, such as a Google and CAD certifications and drone licenses.
“We believe this will create a well-rounded program of study for Union High School students,” said Hoyt. He said students will travel within a cohort group. “Yes, we’re big,” added Hoyt about the high school, “but Pathways will help students travel in smaller groups for their four years here.”
“The program will help to develop smaller communities within the school which can help begin to create a healthier culture,” said Cohen.
Moran said traditional high school courses will continue to be offered to those who choose not to participate in the Pathways program, including those courses included in the program. “Students who select not to be part of the program can select courses as they see fit,” she said. “We want to empower kids to take ownership of what they do in high school,” added Moran.
Upon graduation, students who complete their intended Pathway will receive one of three high school diploma designations:
- Diploma with a transcript that demonstrates a focused and competitive course-load in a specific area of interest;
- Diploma with a transcript that demonstrates a focused and competitive course-load in a specific area of interest with a Standard Endorsement in a Pathway that demonstrates a dedication to high standards and expertise;
- Diploma with a transcript that demonstrates a focused and competitive course-load in a specific area of interest with an Endorsement of Distinction in a Pathway that demonstrates a dedication to exemplary standards and expertise.
“We believe the Pathways program will increase student interest and attention,” said Moran. “When students are more interested, they learn better.”
When putting together the program, Cohen said, “we really addressed the needs of what our students want and how to equitably offer what they need based on individual needs.” Hoyt added, “this program will put the focus specifically on the kids, and they will be focused on getting ready for college or a career.”
A presentation about the Pathways program will be held for seventh- and eighth-grade students and their parents on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. at Union High School.