Galaxy Theatre was featuring a different kind of show on Tuesday as the Porterville Unified School District Pathways Department hosted a Pathways Showcase for local eighth graders, helping to inform them of the 14 different pathways offered through PUSD’s high schools. To help keep things intriguing for the middle schoolers, a rotation of presentations was given by student leaders in each of the pathways who briefly discussed why their respective pathway would be the best choice when filling out the application.
Several of the theatre auditoriums were used to host the hundreds of eighth graders from more than a dozen different local schools in two separate sessions. As the students settled into their seats for the duration of the showcase, the pathways leaders rehearsed their scripts to promote the different pathways available to the soon-to-be high schoolers.
“The pathway showcase gives all of our eighth grade students the opportunity to learn firsthand from high school students in the 14 pathways that we offer at Porterville Unified School District,” said Erik Santos, PUSD’s Pathways Learning Director.
Some of the pathways offered through PUSD include Hospitality, Law, Justice and Ethics, Careers in Education, Performing Arts and Academy of Energy and Resource Occupations. Each pathway is designed to guide a student down an educational path that fits their future career goals or interests,
The presentations made to the groups of middle schoolers included videos that highlighted key features of each pathway, before student leaders spoke about their favorite parts of their chosen path. Field trips were a major highlight of each pathway, as the trips taken are tailored to give real world scenarios to the students.
“A lot of people think that if they join a pathway, they're stuck in that for the rest of their life, and, of course, that's not the case,” said Santos. “In high school, it's a time to explore and kind of see what you're interested in… But regardless of the pathway, all of our pathway students will have a number of different workplace learning opportunities that really prepare them for any career or college…The pathway gives those students that chance to really gain a lot of tools outside of the normal math, English and science curriculum already learned in high school.”
Santos explained all of the students who chose to use the pathway system will have opportunities to work through internships throughout the community. Students will also gain interview skills, learn how to compose a resume, and have an arsenal of professional skills that will aid them in advancing in the workforce after graduation.
Director of the Pathways program, Cynthia Brown, says the Pathways Showcase gives the young students a taste of what's to come in high school and gives them an opportunity to choose a potential future for themselves.
“This event is very important for our students because this is a time when our eighth graders can choose what they plan to do,” said Brown. “What's exciting to me is that they now have 14 options In our pathways within our six high schools to give them the opportunity to be college and career ready, paired with many, many options and a full resume of experiences, leading to internships and even apprenticeships. I'm just thrilled that we have students here that are making this big decision and this will help them build their knowledge.”
With the showcase behind them, but still a big and potentially life-changing decision ahead, incoming high school students can apply to the pathway of their interest now through January 15, 2024. Each pathway has a limited number of students allotted, so it was advised applications be submitted as early as possible.
“After today, our pathways application opens up for students to sign up for a pathway,” said Santos. “Then, in November, we have different tour dates available. All of our high schools have open tours for students who are interested in seeing some more about the pathway.”