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What have pathways done for students?



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INSTITUTES OFFERED AT VISTA PEAK (linked to workforce and postsecondary)

Schools that offer academic and career pathways provide unique learning opportunities to students in one or more of the four pathways. By 2015, all schools in APS will have one or more pathways. Pathways work differently depending on the school.

At many schools, every student receives the enriched curriculum offered by an academic and career pathway. At some schools, however, students can opt into an intensive pathway curriculum or choose the pathway that intrigues them most, giving them extra field experience and advanced academic studies in that field.

Pathways Enrollment

At APS, students can apply to enroll at any school that has classroom space. So if students wish to enter a different academic and career pathway offered b
y another school, they can use the open enrollment system to switch schools. Students who live in the neighborhood of a pathways school will automatically have the opportunity to apply for and participate in the pathways curriculum offered by that school.

From Preschool to a College Degree

In the APS system, students will have the opportunity to earn industry certifications or associates degrees for free in public schools (or at a very low cost at Pickens Technical College). This means students can graduate from APS with two or more degrees in-hand and the specialized skills and credentials needed to enter college or the high-skills workforce, possibly without ever paying tuition.

Students who work hard and choose to pursue further education after graduation will have unique experience that makes them highly competitive candidates for college admissions.

How Do Pathways Work?

In this modern age, young people must possess specialized skills, technological savvy and real-life field experience in order to be competitive in college or university admissions and the global job market. Academic and career pathways offer students the opportunity to develop these qualifications and hone their intellect, from the elementary level through graduation.

The Colorado Paradox

Colorado has one of the most highly educated populations of any state in the nation. About 35 percent of adults age 25 or older in Colorado hold a bachelors degree or higher. In the United States as a whole, only 30 percent of adults hold a bachelors degree or higher. This means that Colorado adults rank far above the rest of the nation when it comes to education.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Colorado children. Colorados public school graduation rate the percentage of Colorado students who start public high school and graduate on time ranks in the bottom half of the states (27th among 50). It is a paradox how could Colorado rank at the top of the nation in terms of the education levels of its population, but rank so low in terms of graduation rates?

The explanation is that Colorado imports much of its highly skilled talent, leaving few jobs for homegrown Colorado residents and little room for them to compete, especially the ones who do not hold a college degree and who have no specialized skills.

Skills of the Future

Aurora Public Schools recognized these shortcomings in Colorado education. APS partnered with the Community Workforce Planning Team and hired expert consultants to determine which skill sets would be in demand over the next few decades. Based on those findings, APS developed a ground-breaking educational strategy. This strategy utilizes academic and career pathways to teach students skills that prepare them for further education or future careers, whether they choose to live in Colorado or on the other side of the world.

Workforce Readiness

Through academic and career pathways, APS students will graduate with unique abilities and credentials, ready to enter college or the workforce. They will have the opportunity to participate in internships, develop their computer skills and explore nearby businesses, organizations and higher education options to learn about careers and colleges that interest them. This gives APS students a chance to start networking with the community before they earn their diplomas. Pathways provide an environment that replicates the real world, preparing students for academic success in college, real-life jobs and the realities of a global economy.


Why Pathways?