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Sanger High Pathways

SHS shares advantages and disadvantages of Pathways
Viviana Delsid


     Sanger High School has given students the opportunity to choose a pathway upon registration and are given an option to choose a pathway that outlines their academic classes, according to their specific pathway requirements. 

      These requirements are in turn spread out over the four years of high school.  Sanger High School specifically includes pathways of AP Capstone, Digital Arts & Media, Engineering Technology, Education, Health Sciences, Military & Public Service, PLTW Biomedical Science, Wonderful Ag Mechanics, and Wonderful Plant Science. However, through it all, there remains the lingering curiosity of how pathways impact student schedules and high school experiences. 

     The creation of pathways are to serve as career technical educational programs at Sanger High School. The focus is on many advantages in work based learning environments, possibility of skill based certifications, Dual Enrollment courses, Associate Degrees, College Industry Field Trips, Mentorships, and more. 

     Each pathway serves its own direction of courses that helps students college readiness in their chosen field. It is optional for students, and aims to give students the “postsecondary education and future career of interest” as it describes on the Sanger High website. 

      Department Chair and SHS Curriculum Support Provider, Carmen Garvis, elaborates on the Pathway program. 

     “We offer nine excellent Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways at Sanger High School. Pathway students explore and engage in industry based curriculum before leaving the high school, and entering a post-secondary education program. Students have the ability to decide if they would like to pursue a career related to the pathway they choose,” Garvis stated. 

     Scott Okada, CSP/ English Teacher/ Education Pathway Teacher, shares his opinion on the subject regarding pathways. 

     “They provide many amazing opportunities for students to pursue learning and experiences in specific fields of study. They also provide students opportunities to take dual enrollment courses or possibly pursue degrees that may help them as they move forward in their career.” said Okada.

     Okada outlines advantages of pathways opportunity including college credits, additional support and resources: Pathway coordinator / CSP, required grade checks and mandatory intervention if students are failing, take courses related to specific fields of study, and participate in learning opportunities/ experiences related to their field of study. 

      Garvis says, “ I feel students do not lose out from being able to take other classes  offered. Joining a pathway is not required, and the students chose a pathway because they are interested in taking the specific pathway courses. In addition to the pathway courses, the students have the opportunity to enroll in other elective courses at some point in their 4-years at SHS.” 

     Garvis continues, “Students that complete our pathways demonstrate school proficiency, and college and career readiness. This gives pathway students an advantage when applying for college and/or any type of job. Pathways help students with their transition to college in their chosen field. Students can have answers to their (College & Career) Why’s, What’s and How’s before leaving high school.” 

     Sanger High Senior Jay Camarena expresses both experiences in Pathway Wonderful Plant Science. 

     “The advantages of enrolling in a pathway is that you get ahead in your college career and can get an associates degree to a job certification for little to no cost. The disadvantage is that you don’t get the full spectrum of the high school experience. Classes are already picked out for you and selecting your own electives is not possible till junior or senior year,”said Camarena.  

     Camarena emphasizes the great opportunities that pathways provide to students even as Camarena will be receiving an Associates Degree in Plant Science, but continues to develop on the advantages and disadvantages of pathways as stated.

     “I do feel that I lose out on being able to take other classes offered at Sanger High and it does put real restrictions on my class schedules. I can only take classes that are already chosen for me, and only in my senior year have I been able to take more than one extracurricular class,” said Camarena.

   Okada describes the process in which some pathways require classes. 

   “Some of the pathways do have a variety of required courses, and at times the scheduling for certain classes is dictated by outside forces (Reedley College, etc.) which can then make it hard for students to be able to take other classes or electives that they might also be interested in. The reality is that a six period day makes it pretty difficult for students to take all of or most of the classes that they want to take anyway. The problem is that most people also are not interested in drastic school schedule changes that could allow for more periods / options. This also creates other issues too with how many periods each teacher would teach.”

     Okada outlined some disadvantages such as less room for electives and additional classes, required summer courses, and even instructors that are not part of Sanger High School – therefore they do not follow the same expectations or guidelines of Sanger High School. 

     As for every opportunity comes the possibility of changes. 

     Okada’s states, “If it was up to me I would change the whole setup. I think it would be interesting to avoid all dual enrollment classes until 11th grade. At this point, I would allow students to take a variety of classes from a variety of pathways.” 

     “Kids should be able to try and experience pathway classes – which should be classes that have a focus on specific career paths or fields.” Okada continues elaborating that many of the dual enrollment courses are not actually field or career specific.

     “They are just general ed courses that are helping to get additional units, but the question then becomes are these really about pathways and careers and genuine interest or just trying to move ahead – which then makes people think about why they are joining pathways. Is it to pursue a passion or just get units? At the heart, the real thing we should be discussing is: what is the mission and core values of the pathway programs?,” said Okada.

     In the end, Okada clearly emphasizes that pathways have benefits and drawbacks as all things do. 

     “The goal is always to provide opportunities for students from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of goals, but there also has to be an awareness of how each program affects others.” Okada continued, “They provide many amazing opportunities for students to pursue learning and experiences in specific fields of study. They also provide students opportunities to take dual enrollment courses or possibly pursue degrees that may help them as they move forward in their career.” 

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About the Contributor
Viviana Delsid
Viviana Delsid, Editor In Chief
Viviana Delsid is currently a 16 year old junior attending Sanger High School. She was and raised in Sanger. Before high school, she attended Sanger Academy Charter School from kindergarten through eighth grade. She is the oldest of four with three younger brothers. This school year she is involved in Apache Girls Golf and Badminton. Her all-time favorite subjects include math, only when she can solve the problems, and ELA. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with family and friends, binge watching shows and listening to music. This is currently her second year in Journalism. Her dream career is to be a teacher, and she hopes that one day this dream will include going to a University of California (UC).
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