The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School


The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School


The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School


Making Sense of Pathways

Casey Donahue
Concept chart with the phrase “pathways” in the middle with lines breaking off and leading to question marks.

In the 2024-25 academic school year, ACHS is launching a new initiative for student academic achievements. The school will be broken into six academic academies which are then divided into more refined groups called pathways.

“The goal of having academies and pathways is to provide a more intentional, instructional experience for students,” said Director of School Counseling Briana Hardaway.

The six academies will be the STEM, business and government, education, liberal arts, and human services, visual performing and applied arts, global studies, and general studies academies. 

“Whether you’re going to college or [into a] career, we want students to be able to leave feeling that they learned something [that] they feel good about or they can be productive citizens,” said Hardaway. “So the six academies provide an umbrella of things for an educational experience.”

If a student were to start high school knowing what they want to pursue, then the academies would facilitate and allow for that student to be taught based on their career’s fundamentals. 

For example, if a freshman goes into high school with an established interest in music, they would be best suited for the visual performing and applied arts academy.

However, the counseling staff understands that not every ninth grade student knows what they want to do with their life following graduation. A student who fits under this category has the option to join the general studies academy, and within that academy, join the general studies pathway. This is where they will have the opportunity to explore the different pathways and become familiar with the offerings in the school. 

“The way that helped me conceptualize all of this is we still wanted students to focus on the courses they’re choosing, not to get wrapped up in the academies and pathways,” said Hardaway. “Students should still start their academic advisement process with what courses they want to take next year.”

The main purpose of pathways is to integrate the themes of the academy into the core subjects. Especially English. 

“Say the paper you’re writing, it will have a business and government focus or a performing arts focus. So then, I’m interested in the paper I’m writing. It’s not just another assignment,“ said Hardaway.

Hardaway understands that the numbers may not work out perfectly, but still believes in the plan.

“It’s not going to be clean cut, it can’t be. We have too many students in our school,” said Hardaway. “As much as possible, we want to have heterogeneous sections where there could be a teacher with all Honors, English 10 [and] students who are in the Global Studies Academy. That’s ideally what we would want.”

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