Multiple Pathways and Learning Options in Bartholomew County Schools

Our office recently had the privilege of hearing Dr. John Quick, Superintendent of Schools, Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation speak to our Residential and Commercial Agents.  Dr. Quick shared information about the successes of the students and the programs of the school system.   Among the very interesting facts shared, one of those we found most exciting was this:

“The top ten percent of BCSC students outperform the top ten percent in the nation.”


The following is an article appearing in the BCSC Annual Report:

The goal of the BCSC vision of a World-Class Community Learning System is that all learners develop a deep understanding of the world and an intellectual foundation to act and think effectively on that understanding.

At every level of the system we want learners to be intellectually engaged in the learning process.  When learners graduate from this system we want them to be effective communicators, motivated learners, confident and empowered learners, collaborative workers, responsible citizens, quality performers, and responsible family members.

The challenge for this system is to intellectually engage all learners at each level.  This is a difficult challenge as learners who enter the system all enter with a variety of backgrounds.  Add to this the range of variables and the new knowledge and research that confirms that each individual brain operates and processes information and reasoning differently.  All of this has lead BCSC to develop multiple pathways and options for learners to engage their learning styles.

The development of multiple pathways is based on brain research, the changing world, the changing work force, and the changing demographics of our learners.  For these reasons, no one educational path or method of instruction can address all learners in any meaningful way.  The development of multiple pathways and options to address how learners are instructed and assessed is essential if we truly want to intellectually engage all learners in the system.  Multiple pathways and learning options will provide flexibility into the learning opportunities available to students.  By offering multiple paths and options for all of our students, we will continue to prepare our students for the rapidly changing and challenging 21st century.

DEFINITION OF TERMS FOR

MULTIPLE PATHWAYS AND LEARNING OPTIONS

 

 

Academic Challenge/ (AC)

The Academic Challenge/High Ability program is a High Ability – rigorous and robust curriculum using instructional practices that  challenge students who have shown high ability skills in their  primary grade course work.  Admissions to the elementary and  middle school programs are highly competitive.

 

 

 

 

 

AP/ACP –  (AP)

Advanced Placement are courses offered through approval from the College Board.  Students can earn college credit by scoring well enough on the AP exam in May.  There is a cost for those exams. (ACP) Advanced College Project offers students dual credit from the high schools and Indiana University by taking a specific approved course and paying the university tuition.  Students must earn a “C” or better for the course to earn dual credit.  These credits usually transfer to most colleges.  Students should research this prior to enrolling.

Career & Technical

Career pathways at the high school level prepare students for Education –    post-secondary education or for the competitive job market demanding high-level technical skills, as well as strong math, science and communications backgrounds incorporating problem-solving and critical thinking skills.  Dual credit agreements are available with IUPUC, IVY Tech, Purdue Statewide School of Technology, Vincennes University, and most clusters offer state and national certifications.

Centers of Excellence –

 

Borrowed from the business world, this concept allows a more effective use of assets while still allowing individual schools and their students to maintain their identities.  Centers of Excellence provide the best educational opportunities and highest standards for learning environments we can provide for a specific learning discipline.  The Finance Academy, which is held at a site in downtown Columbus so that students have access to the various practicing Columbus financial institutions, is an example of a Center of Excellence.

General Education –

This is the current model and system of instruction that is in place now at our schools.

 

Early College –

High School students may arrange to take an off-campus course at IVY Tech or IUPUC which can count in their general studies curriculum at the university they later choose to attend.  This credit would primarily transfer to the state institutions in Indiana.  Costs would be the normal tuition charge per college class with scholarships available.

 

Intellectually Engaged

The learner must be the active worker in the learning process and

Learner –

Not just the passive recipient of information and answers for someone else’s questions.  This engagement must incorporate the skill and habit of learning to learn in order to figure out complex problems and issues.  The learner must develop the ability to apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate while making solid intellectual connections.  The questions learners ask become as important as the answers students give.

International/Global

This is a curricular program that focuses on interdisciplinary Studies –   studies in an international and global perspective.  The curriculum would include global challenges, various global cultures, global connections and foreign language acquisition.

Magnet School –

Magnet schools or magnet programs are specialized schools or programs that draw upon students throughout the district who are deeply interested in that curricular and instructional focus.

Signature Academies –

These magnet schools have an instructional program that is based on the instructional practice of project-based learning.   Project-based learning engages students in the curriculum by putting the students in a center of a project or problem that requires students to learn concepts and skills in order to complete the project or solve the problem.  Students work in teams and in a technology rich environment to address real world projects and problems and create presentations to share what they have learned.

Small Learning

Small Learning Communities (SLCs) provide close, caring Communities –   environments in a more personalized school setting where students get individual attention.  Research suggests that in larger high schools it is difficult for every student to be known well and feel a sense of belonging to the school.

We wish to acknowledge the contribution of this article  by the BCSC which was used with their permission.