Administrators Monday night (Oct. 7, 2019) updated the Board of Education regarding ongoing work to expand small learning communities at all five U-46 comprehensive high schools and the Dream Academy by the 2021-22 school year.
According to a U-46 news release, these small learning communities will emphasize rigor and relevance, relationships with peers and staff, and college and career readiness skills.
The plan calls for all U-46 high schools to each house the same five college and career academies:
- Fine Arts
- Human Services
- Liberal Arts
- STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)
Students that are presently seventh graders in U-46 schools will be the first class to enter new college and career academies in 2021-22 when they will have an opportunity to take a semester-long freshman seminar course before selecting an intentionally-designed sequence of courses housed within each academy.
Officials said these course sequences, referred to as “Educational Pathways,” could be made up of core classes or electives. Taken together in a cohesive manner, they will emphasize critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, communication, and other 21st Century work skills required across all industries.
Students will learn through opportunities both inside and outside the classroom, preparing them for college, career and life.
Magnet Academy at Each High School
In addition to these new college and career academies, the district’s five comprehensive high schools will continue to each house one magnet academy.
For more information about each magnet academy visit the U-46 magnet academies website section here.
Students are admitted through an application and review process. Eighth graders can submit completed Magnet Academy applications online. Applications are due on or before 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019.
“We are hoping to empower students to explore a field of interest and learn more about themselves in the process,” said Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education Lela Majstorovic. “The end goal is not simply graduating from high school; the end goal is for our students to graduate with a plan and multiple options for the next step in their journey.”
Students will still be required to meet graduation requirements and be able to meet specific college admission standards. The Educational Pathways will ensure students can explore a field of interest and graduate with early college credit and/or industry-recognized credentials in addition to a high school diploma.
The freshman seminar class will include tools for a successful high school experience, including note-taking and study skills, as well as time exploring the pathways in U-46.
Majstorovic and a small team of secondary administrators announced to the BOE the focus of the 23 Educational Pathways, including Finance & Accounting, Management & Leadership, Music Recording & Production, Theater Arts, Law, Early Childhood Education, and Information Technology. A complete list is detailed below.
The Liberal Arts Academy will offer students a more traditional college prep experience, allowing them to take a varied course of electives or to focus on graduating from high school with a year or more worth of college credits.
A team of administrators, principals, teachers, and staff serve on the Pathways Committee that evaluated a variety of potential Educational Pathways using criteria that included employment data, the ability for teachers to meet state and industry licensing requirements for the program, student interest, the facility requirements, and the ability for students to earn early college credit or industry credentials.
Programs also need to be able to meet the needs of students who have IEPs, English Learners, or are enrolled in the district’s Dual Language program. The pathways must meet all state and federal laws for college and career readiness.
Many of the Educational Pathways will be located at numerous sites, others might be offered at just one or two schools, based on facility requirements, the BOE was told. The site designations of each individual Educational Pathway will be finalized by Spring 2020 with a focus on equity and alignment with facilities.
The Pathways Committee representatives presenting to the BOE on Monday night said that next steps include developing a multi-year action plan to implement the academy model in all high schools, writing and revising curriculum, and creating a plan for counseling to help students choose their pathway.
The Citizens’ Advisory Council will feature an Educational Pathways update at its October meeting. That meeting, open to all, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 at Elgin High School, 1200 Maroon Drive, Elgin.
There are also town hall sessions scheduled for October and November at which parents, guardians, students and interested community members can learn more about the plans.
Each meeting will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the following locations:
- Thursday, Oct. 17: Kenyon Woods Middle School, 1515 Raymond St., South Elgin
- Tuesday, Oct. 29: Eastview Middle School, 321 N. Oak Ave., Bartlett
- Tuesday, Nov. 5: Kimball Middle School, 451 N. McLean Boulevard, Elgin
The Educational Pathways detailed Monday night, and the College & Career Academy under which they fall, are outlined below:
- Finance & Accounting
- Management & Leadership
- Office Assistant
FINE ARTS ACADEMY
- 2D Art
- 3D Art
- Artes Folkloricas de Mexico
- Commercial & Digital Art
- Music Recording & Production
- Theater Arts
HUMAN SERVICES ACADEMY
- Early Childhood Education
- Hospitality & Culinary Arts
- Medical Assistant
- Patient Care Technician
- Social Advocacy
LIBERAL ARTS ACADEMY
- Early College
- Environmental Science
- Information Technology
- Precision Manufacturing
More info can be found at u-46.org/educationalpathways.
School District U-46 serves families in 11 communities: Bartlett, Elgin, Hanover Park, South Elgin, Streamwood and Wayne, as well as portions of Carol Stream, Hoffman Estates, St. Charles, Schaumburg, and West Chicago.
In total, the district encompasses 90 square miles within the Fox River Valley, about 45 minutes west of downtown Chicago, and includes communities within Cook, DuPage and Kane counties.