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Dear Lancer Families, devon.png

As we enjoy these first few weeks of 2020, I want to spotlight Pathways as one of the pieces of our La Follette work where teachers are embracing innovative approaches and students are responding with positive engagement and deep learning. 

This year our Health Services Pathway has cohorts of students at 9th, 10th, and 11th grades, and our Information Technology and Communication Pathway has students at 9th. All together, 330 Lancer students are part of this approach which brings elements of the Pathway theme into their core English, Social Studies and Science classes and also connects them with a team of teachers who collaborate each week on ways to bring student voice and interest into the classroom.

Before I came to La Follette, I had worked in schools with similar approaches, so I am excited to see Madison’s commitment to Pathways as a way of making sure every student graduates with a personalized plan that connects to their own goals and strengths!

I hope you saw this story in The Cap Times. Our 10th grade Health Services team worked together to connect English, World History, Chemistry and Health into a project that helped students reflect on the ways Wisconsin’s culture handles the topic of alcohol. On an afternoon in early December, twenty-two different community members welcomed our students into their workplaces--everywhere from a fire station to the State Capitol to an office in the Law School--to talk about the health, economic, and policy impacts of alcohol. Back at school, the students were energized with ideas and so proud of the way these “real people” took their questions and ideas seriously. And then the students pulled these ideas together into informative projects which they shared with 11th and 12th grade peers. Talk about a school project they’ll never forget!

Ninth graders in the Information Technology and Communications (ITC) Pathway are also making these kinds of community connections.The ITC Pathway students had the opportunity to visit the City-County Building and meet Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway’s team. The ITC Pathway students learned about 4 major initiatives the Mayor is prioritizing. The priorities discussed were Civil rights, affordable housing, transportation and environmental sustainability. Pathways students discussed connections to the work of the Mayor and what we are learning in the classroom. ITC Pathway students had the incredible opportunity to comment on and/or directly ask members of the Mayor’s team questions on each of the Mayor’s priorities. Back at school, we’ll be focused on how these priorities are impacting our local communities and how technology and communication strategies can assist in supporting these priorities. It was impressive to see LaFollette ITC Pathways students deeply engaged and asking members of the Mayor’s team challenging and thought provoking questions. We had a very spirited discussion on the transportation infrastructure and the availability and access to busses. As we closed, members of the Mayor’s team complimented the ITC students for their attention and engagement.

Our Pathway coordinators and counselors are sharing the word about this exciting opportunity with 8th grade students and families, and we will also be able to add a small number of students to our 10th grade groups for next year. If your student is interested,please reach out to Chrissy Mitlyng, Kris Howard or myself. We would also love to hear from you if your organization would like to host a field trip, be a part of small group interviews, or find another way to partner on a pathway project!


Devon LaRosa