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The Power of Partnership: Leading Students Down the Right Path

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Delaware Pathways: A New Kind of Learning

It’s a simple question with huge significance: “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?” Whether your mind’s been made or you haven’t a clue, Delaware high school students have more opportunities than ever to explore fields of interest and embark on a professional path. Delaware Pathways, a member of the Pathways to Prosperity Network, offers wide-ranging, career-based programs that allow students to gain hands-on professional experience, work toward earning a college degree, and/or master skills necessary to succeed in a job immediately after graduation.

Delaware Pathways:

  • Creates a new kind of learning. A student enrolled in Pathways receives a typical academic curriculum, alongside high-level, opportunity-based coursework to strengthen college and career readiness.
  • Comprise 14 programs, concordant with high-demand job sectors, include Engineering, Biomedical Sciences, Healthcare, Culinary & Hospitality, and Finance.
  • Expand every year, with three new programs–Environmental Science, Nurse Assisting, and K-12 Teaching Academy–available for the 2017-18 school year.
  • Provide options for students, allowing them to choose their own path among several high-need academic disciplines in Delaware’s growing economy.
  • Function through collaboration among school districts, higher education, national advisory partners, and leading businesses.

Business Partnerships Take the Lead

The business community’s participation is crucial for the evolving growth of the Pathways programs. In fact, the Delaware Business Roundtable, its Education Committee, the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, , and other business leaders have already made important strides–like introducing more hands-on internships in high-demand fields for students–through partnership with higher education institutions and policymakers. To best prepare students for successful careers, the business sector is committed to further aligning pathways opportunities with workforce development systems.

Delmarva Power and Exelon, for instance, are proud to share that commitment. Through a $720,000 donation over four years, the companies will partially fund the new Energy Efficiency pathway in partnership with Delaware Technical Community College (DTCC). To reflect the growing conversation around clean, safe, and affordable energy, as many as 250 new jobs in this industry could be created over the next four years, according to the Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). Students enrolled in the new Energy Efficiency pathway first learn key concepts in the classroom, then advance to actually working in DTCC labs in the spring. Delmarva and Exelon are setting the bar high; it’s this type of leadership that makes DE Pathway programs meaningful for high school students.

Private and Public Grants Support New Pathways

There’s more great news. Governor Jack Markell just recently announced that, in partnership with the DBREC and Bank of America, the Delaware Department of Education has awarded $450,000 in both private and public grants to support the new high school pathway programs in Delaware. Thanks to this award, Delaware will continue to advance existing programs and launch 23 new ones–across 16 high schools–that will engage students in the three newest tracks for 2017-18.

Pathways is tightening the bond between Delaware’s public education system, postsecondary institutions, and the broader employer community.  Deepening investments and partnerships will l give students the extraordinary opportunity to gain college credit and develop the professional skills that employers are seeking. The $450,000 will also back teacher training for successful implementation of coursework.

 

When it comes to the Pathways, the state has made impressive progress:

  • Just two years ago, only a single class of 30 students got to benefit from pathways.
  • Last year, almost 2,500 students got on board.
  • Today, Pathway serves approximately 5,800 students across 38 high schools.

 

Since 2015, there’s been more than $1.5 million allocated to schools through grants to support these opportunities.

Learning doesn’t stop after high school, and Pathways is preparing students for college, career, and a lifetime of learning to come. Delaware’s high school students can hit the ground running on the right path—a path to future success.

Thinking Ahead: Useful Resources for Post-High School Plans

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It’s that time of year again–high school students all across Delaware are kicking off the fall season with exciting explorations of future and postsecondary plans. Finding the right job or college can be stressful, but there are numerous state and federal resources available for both students and parents that can ease the process.

Getting Started

With post-high school planning, one of the best things to do is to start early and organize what needs to be done. This checklist for 10th-12th graders can help. It details steps along the way, such as asking for help and designing your high school class schedule.

The Delaware Higher Education Office recently put together some video resources about postsecondary opportunities that students might find helpful. One useful video resource explains the value in creating a College Board student account as a first step to choosing where to apply. To help refine the search to particular college preferences, students can use resources like CareerCruising, BigFuture, and The U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard. College Scorecard is a federal resource that offers reliable data to compare school costs, retention and graduation rates, average salary after attending, and much more. Be sure to check out other great information from this video, in addition to other video resources on topics such as joining the army and becoming a student athlete.

Starting in ninth grade, high school students and their parents can also sign up for the Texting Campaign. In our ever-advancing digital age, there’s no better way to stay up-to-date in the career planning and college application process. After signing up, students receive texts from the Delaware Department of Education’s Higher Education Office and the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration, so that students can best be served according to their grade level and career and college preferences. Students are then free to ask any questions, such as those regarding FAFSA, application deadlines, or steps to becoming college-ready.

Continuing the Process

As students begin to find their academic passions and path for professional growth, they’re highly encouraged by their high schools to apply to college. That’s why from October 17-November 18, high schools hold College Application Month (CAM). During this time, every college and university in the state—and even some schools from out-of-state—offer free applications. You can also get involved with CAM by becoming a volunteer: Registering to assist and encourage students as they complete their applications is an integral part of the process. Anyone is welcome to help out; no need to be an expert on the college application process.

While ninth graders can participate in the texting campaign as they begin to consider their post-high school plans, upperclassmen are encouraged to stay engaged with the campaign; whenever you have a question regarding your college applications, text it! It’s important to ask the right questions when considering your future.

Affording Your Future

To supplement the texting anytime and anywhere, students can attend the beneficial events offered in schools throughout the state. Be on the lookout for college fairs, scholarship opportunities, financial aid workshops, and events for FAFSA completion assistance. One great federal resource is The Parent’s Guide to Completing the FAFSA. Get your when, why and how questions answered to successfully receive financial aid.

Besides applying for FAFSA, is there another way college can become more affordable? The answer is yes! Check out the 2016-17 Delaware Scholarship Compendium. This guide features all sorts of scholarships and programs that can be searched by name, area of study, or deadline. All students are encouraged to seek out as many scholarships as possible–it’s definitely worth a shot.

So, there you have it. Delaware is pleased to offer numerous resources to help your college application process and beyond go as smoothly as possible. This is a very exciting time for high school students, filled with great potential and tons of new opportunities. Your future is right around the corner–go get it!

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