EYE OF THE TIGER’S VIEW: New pathways unhook schedules




With freedom grows responsibility. Freshmen since 2013 walked through our gates and found four one-size-fits-all approaches to their high school transition. In order to let students grow, set them free.

The former Freshman Pathways program – Freshman Seminar, AVID 9, Positive Power and Pre-AP English 9/Geography and World Cultures – presented wide-eyed eighth-graders with set courses that sound good on paper, and produce the solid benefits in the end. But the revamped Tiger Pathways program slated for the 2017-18 school year presents a healthier situation for freshmen: the freedom to explore diverse elective offerings. Incoming freshmen crave a refreshing break from streamlined middle school expect variety and plenty, so why not give them exactly that?

In dropping the former Pathways requirement for the Class of 2021, incoming freshmen will now be able to enroll in the short-and-sweet CP English 9, and retain three open slots to fill with whatever classes they want to take – no strings attached.

This change will help incoming freshmen adjust to and explore the unknown wonders of high school on their own terms. Increasing elective enrollment in the long run, students would be more open to taking fun and rewarding classes earlier and continuing with them throughout their four years at RHS.

The decision should cater to future freshmen in their course selection process. Students that know they want a rigorous, AP-filled schedule may still take Pre-AP English and Geo World Cultures. Students that might be hesitant at first, may take CP English and three electives. Students craving guidance may take Positive Power or Freshman Seminar. Students that would like to organize themselves and develop better study habits may take AVID 9.

Finding one’s calling in high school is something to be treasured and continued for multiple years; electives can lead to future careers.

The former Freshman Pathways program did accomplish its goals, however.

The Pre-AP English 9 and Geo World Cultures block helped and continues to help bridge the gap between middle school and high school. They introduce block schedules and help prepare kids for AP courses, without the mental and monetary costs of an actual AP course. The block is valuable to the incoming students wanting a more demanding schedule, and an increased amount of students enrolled in AP classes proves the classes accomplished their goal.

Positive Power helped struggling students adjust in order to be as successful and motivated as possible. Students were positively impacted by their peers and teachers, thus promoting a better school environment. Freshman Seminar serves as a class for students to be social with one another and learn practical skills – such as putting together a resume. But the skills taught in these schedule-consuming classes also come naturally with some students’ experiences in high school – at lunch, through clubs, in non-academic electives.

With time of the essence and priceless teenage years on the line, RHS scheduling should put unique enriching student experiences at the forefront as early as possible.

The original Pathways rounded up freshmen on a school bus that didn’t make its first stop for a year. Those who didn’t get off at the first stop may have ended up in their junior or senior year wishing they had done it differently.

Tiger Pathways adds a positive, alternate route – taking future students where they want to go, from the get-go. The doors to that original bus remain wide open, but aren’t the only entrance to a successful high school career.