Pathways Charter

Skip to main content
Enrollment » How does Pathways work?

How does Pathways work?

Are you considering Pathways, but need a better understanding of how our school works? If so, please read on...
 
Prospective parents often ask, "What is Pathways? What is a typical day like?" While there is no one answer, we can describe some of the common ways that families use Pathways to support their at-home learning. Pathways is categorized as an independent study public charter school. We receive our funding from the state, have credentialed teachers and follow the state standards. However, we do all of this by designing personalized learning plans for students which incorporate a variety of instructional methods (textbook work, online courses and curriculum, on-site learning center classes, vendor classes and parent-led co-ops).
 
Pathways is not a daily site-based program, or what is sometimes called a brick-and-mortar school, nor are we all online. This means that a majority of the learning goes on in the home. We do have regional learning centers where students may go for weekly classes, and we offer monthly field trips and other socialization and academic enrichment activities. Furthermore, Pathways contracts with community businesses, which we call vendors, to provide additional classes and services to students. Additionally, many families work together to provide group activities for their children, either through co-ops or shared hiring of a class instructor. However, the exact composition of classes, outside activities with vendors, fields trips, online learning, and textbook learning is designed to fit the needs of each child (and each family). These unique plans are designed in a collaborative process involving the Pathways teacher, parent or guardian, and student.
 

Our program is founded on the model of the educational team, which is a partnership between the student, parent or guardian (as the day-to-day teacher), and the Pathways independent study teacher. Together this team will select materials and methods that best fit the student’s needs and support the completion of the state standards. After discussing the child's previous learning environment, current performance levels in the core subjects, desired learning formats and learning styles, the teacher will help design a learning plan which will include a combination of the following:

  • Credentialed teacher support
  • Curriculum from our resource library
  • New educational materials purchased through our catalog vendors
  • Online curriculum and classes
  • Classes at a regional learning center
  • Activities with vendors in the community
  • Field trips, workshops, co-ops, etc.
  • Intervention and support for struggling students

 

Roles of the Educational Team Members

We serve a diverse range of families, each of whom has a different set of needs in terms of the support provided by the school and teacher. In combination with designing the learning plan, the teacher will also discuss the roles of each member of the educational team. Below are the typical roles within an educational team but, for families who want more support, the teacher can provide more direct guidance and oversight through weekly meetings.

Pathways IST (Independent Study Teacher)

  • Ensures standards are being covered
  • Provides access to appropriate curriculum and assignments
  • Approves educational materials orders
  • Monitors student progress
  • Offers support to parent/guardian
  • Evaluates student work and awards grades
 

Parent/Guardian

  • Acts as day-to-day teacher and monitors daily school work completion
  • Records attendance on daily log
  • Reviews and grades student work as directed by Pathways IST
  • Provides transportation and access to resources such as learning center classes
 
Personalized Learning Plans for Every Student
Many aspects of our program have great flexibility, which makes it challenging to describe how we do it; however, below is an overview by grade range. Note: Middle school students (Grades 6-8) can fall into either section, depending on the level of teacher support needed.
 
Grades TK-8: Home-Based Learning
Our elementary grades population is very diverse. Some students have been schooling at home for all of their educational years, while others have newly joined our program. Our teachers strive to support all of these families in a manner that fits with the educational approach of the family and still ensures compliance with state standards and other independent study regulations. We suggest that prospective parents review the tools at our parent training section, such as the "Back to School Checklist TK-5" (Parent Training TK-5), to think through various aspects of a home-based learning program. Your Pathways teacher will review some of these items with you during an initial meeting, as well. There is no one “right way” to approach curriculum in a home-based learning environment. Pathways allows for tremendous flexibility in the methods used (Curriculum K-8) to reach the standards. For some parents, this is very exciting because it means that they can design lessons and unit plans specific to the interests and learning style of their child. For other parents, however, this is overwhelming and does not give them enough direction on where to start. No matter where you fall on that spectrum, please discuss various options with your IST and select a place to start. Over the first few months of school, you and your teacher may decide to make some changes to the materials selected or the types of assignments. That is to be expected.  A few aspects to consider:
 
  • What educational approach do you want to use?
    • There are a range of approaches, from traditional textbooks and materials, to project-based thematic units. Some of these approaches may also align with specific educational philosophies, such as Waldorf or Classical Education.
  • What types or methods of instruction do you want to include?
    • As you learned at the orientation session, we offer a range of instructional methods and materials to reach the grade level standards, including curricula/texts, learning center classes, classes in the community with approved vendors, online curriculum, online classes, projects, and parent-designed units.
  • How much guidance do you need as a parent/guardian?
    • It is important to consider not only your child’s needs, but yours as well. As you step into this role of teacher, how much and what type of support do you need? Some parents want a curriculum that lays out daily lessons while others are more comfortable piecing together various elements from a variety of materials. The level of support you desire or need will influence the frequency with which you meet with your teacher.
Grades 7-12: Independent Study
In the secondary grades, it is typical that the parent/guardian begins to take on more of a monitoring role and less of a direct teaching role. The student and teacher will meet more often to select courses and determine methods of study (curriculum, classes at learning centers, online classes, junior college, etc.). It is common for students in these grades to have a blended schedule, a mixture of time at a learning center and/or junior college along with days at home to complete independent study coursework and homework from classes.
 
Once this plan is developed, the student will start their attendance at Pathways and begin their first week of instruction. Perhaps the plan involves a combination of many of the resources described above, which means that each week the student may spend several hours each day at home completing assignments in textbooks and workbooks with support from their parent/guardian, spending three hours a week in an online math class, take a weekly art class with a local community vendor, attend a weekly science lab at the learning center, and meet up with other students in their local community for a weekly book club. This is just one of many, many examples of how a personalized plan might look in practice.
 
The sample below is based on the services offered at our Rohnert Park Learning Center.
 
  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Learning Activities
Daily engagement required.
Number of hours varies by grade level.
See assignment sheet.
 
Student:
Independent Study assignments at home, such as workbooks, projects, readings, etc.
 
Parent role may include direct lessons, overseeing work completion, grading work, transportation to classes or field trips.
 
Optional
Afternoon Middle School Math and Science classes at the learning center.
 
Student:
Independent Study assignments at home, such as workbooks, projects, readings, etc.
 
Parent role may include direct lessons, overseeing work completion, grading work, transportation to classes or field trips
 
Student:
Independent Study assignments at home, such as workbooks, projects, readings, etc.
 
Parent role may include direct lessons, overseeing work completion, grading work, transportation to classes or field trips
 
Student:
Independent Study assignments at home, such as workbooks, projects, readings, etc.
 
Parent role may include direct lessons, overseeing work completion, grading work, transportation to classes or field trips

Classes at the learning center for Grades K-8.
Student:
Independent Study assignments at home, such as workbooks, projects, readings, etc.
 
Parent role may include: direct lessons, overseeing work completion, grading work, transportation to classes or field trips

Morning math tutoring at the learning center for Middle School.
To learn more about how this educational opportunity might work for your child,
please register to attend an Orientation Session.
See menu above.