Paving the Future

The class of 2025 begins a new era as the first students to be introduced to the Pathways program.

Cheyenne Brown, Editor-in-Chief, Griffin Writes


Submitted photo

   Nearly two years ago, administrators, business partners, parents, students and teachers began working on a college and career project that would enrich the high school experience. The idea was to divide students into “schools within schools” based on their future career paths and interests. Now, the freshman class of 2025 walk through Winnetonka High School’s doors as a student of the School of Business, Leadership and Entrepreneurship, the School of Human Services, the School of Health and Wellness, or the School of Design, Innovation and Technology.

    “In eighth grade they had us take surveys to see which pathway would suit what we wanted to go to college for,” freshman and student of the School of Health and Wellness, Kaelyn McLaughlin said, “The pathways have impacted the way I thought high school would be because we are split up into careers and it’s not random kids in classes they don’t need to take.”

    Each pathway has teachers, designated by admin, to instruct the students in their courses. Pathway instructors, like College and Career Facilitator Alayna Martin, have the opportunity to work with other teachers throughout the district on curriculum and development. They work to encourage students to explore and expand their strengths, interests, and passions.

   “People learn deeper when they are connected to what they are learning. This is true in a hobby, sport, or classroom,” Martin said, “With pathways, students are able to more readily make connections to themselves and explore what their future might hold.”

    This Pathways program is meant to redefine students’ learning experience by encouraging their growth and assisting them in preparing for the future. Each of the four paths has a technical core class made specifically for the enrolled students’ development.

    “I’m in Human Services and in that class we learn how to work with other people and how to work as a team,” freshman Sarah Barber said, “My pathway prepares me for the future because it is making me ready to work with other humans.”

    High school is the final step in the process of preparing students for life after graduation. Pathways teach students to work hard towards their goals and what they envision. Not only does this benefit student lives and careers, but also the school’s standing. The Pathways program may be the next step toward improving Tonka’s image.

    “I hope that it gives the students a chance to have a vision for their futures, and it will then allow us to maybe behave better or be more professional so that people won’t see us in a negative light,”

    Business Pathway Teacher Ashley Lee said, “They will see us in a positive light because our kids have a reason that they are coming to school, and it’s not just because they have to.”