Letter from the Principal
When asked what we are at Pathways, I find it best to use an analogy to explain who we are and what we do:
Imagine a huge race track, two miles long. Up pulls a brand new Ferrari (or some other favorite sports car). The crowd gets ready, the green light flashes, the Ferrari takes off and goes 0-40 miles per hour in a second, but then keeps going 40 miles per hour. True, it is going around the track, but everyone knows it can and should go faster (it's a Ferrari after all).
What we do is pull the Ferrari aside and work it over. We have the best mechanics around! With this pit crew, we have had made major successes with hundreds of cars. But the other key is teaching the cars (students) how to work with a mechanic. You can imagine if the car pulls up to the pit stop but keeps its hood closed saying, “There's nothing wrong here. I'm fine. Work on somebody else." This greatly limits what the mechanic can do. Sure, we could give it a new paint job and change the tires, but that's not getting to the real issue.
Now imagine if a car pulls up, pops open its own hood and as the mechanic begins to work, the car says, “No, not there, here." or, "I'm having problems back there." Once you get the car and the mechanic working together, the results are, and have been, dramatic. The change, we've found, is when the students take responsibility for their education; when they start learning for themselves, not because their parents and teachers want them to do well, but because they want to do their best.
We are a school for cars that are going, but not going as well as they should. Our school if for students whose current grades do not match their intelligence, especially those who lack the study skills/organization skills to be successful. These skills are the number one reason student's apply and a major focus of our program. We also have no assigned homework in sixth or seventh grade in order to remove that pressure and teach students how to use their time well in class. Then in eighth grade, we slowly introduce homework again after the first quarter and continue to increase the amount until they're doing a full load by the end of their eighth grade year.
This model of teaching with small class sizes and more one-on-one attention would be ideal for any student, but we cannot accept all applicants. Our school follows an inclusion model and each student's discipline record is reviewed as part of the application process. Our student body reflects any school in that we have gifted students and below grade level students, star athletes and students who have hated PE, social butterflies and those who like small groups. Simply put, we are a school for students who would like a smaller environment in which to learn and who need the skills to be successful in high school. Our job is to help get them ready and get these race cars back on track, ready to hit the road to high school and beyond.
If the traditional middle school environment doesn't seem to be meeting your student’s needs, give us a call and see if Pathways may be a better option for your student.
Dr. Eric Eschen