Through their high school education, students have the opportunity to earn college credit, learn about career fields and be the driver of their own education. Pathways give all students greater opportunities, and especially help more students of color graduate from high school prepared for their next steps.

This aligns with a priority area in the district’s Strategic Framework focusing on Personalized Pathways at the secondary level. Students need and want more opportunities to learn and apply skills in authentic learning experiences where they can feel a sense of competence and achievement, personalize their education and learn about possible careers and post-secondary options to better make decisions about their future.

Through La Follette High School’s health occupations pathway students studied, practiced skills, participated in clinical work at a local long-term care facility toward the end of the year and tested to earn their certification to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.

Students in the class felt pride in their accomplishments and commented that it gave them hands-on experience and a unique insight into continuing on this path or exploring other careers in medicine.

“I decided to enroll in this program because I thought it would be a good experience, a good stepping stone and a good foundation because I want to go into surgery or the medical field in the future,” Pachia Xiong says.

For Aminata Sowe, the class provided an opportunity to learn more about future job possibilities. “It’s to decide what I want to do in the medical field. I thought I wanted to be a nurse but the next day, it’s something new.”

Listen to what Aminata has to say about the experience below:

Lesley Garcia says the class provided opportunities unique to her high school experience. “We get to work with a lot of new people, have different experiences, like clinicals.”

Some of the students in the class are going on to study neurobiology, nursing and veterinary medicine next year at Madison College, UW–Milwaukee and UW–Madison.

And perhaps the most important lesson from this experience – beyond the credits received and the skills learned – was summed up best by Arlene Krueger, the course instructor, at the recent pinning ceremony: “Students wrote in their journals that what they really got out of it was the fact they improved the quality of life for the residents and their families. I have no doubt these students will continue to make a big difference in a lot of lives in the future.”

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