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BHS recognized for innovation, positive impact of Pathways program

  • Pathways & Partnerships

A shift in model and mindset made more than five years ago has earned Burnsville High School a statewide award for innovation and educational impact. 

The Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals presented the Gold Star of Innovation Award to BHS on Wednesday, Dec. 8 at the Mraz Center for Performing Arts. The award recognizes the school’s “Pathways” approach for its positive impact on students’ education, as well as its creativity, imagination and effect on school climate. 

At BHS, a Pathway is a series of classes that BHS students can take that will help them follow their interests and prepare for further study, training or work opportunities within a career field. As students learn more about their interests, they can explore one or more Pathways, all of which provide opportunities for college credit, professional certification, and real-world learning. The model helps students understand how classes and careers fit together and plan for their futures after graduation. 

Pathways at BHS was launched at the start of the 2016-17 school year as part of Vision One91, which also involved moving 9th grade to the high school and converting the district’s junior high schools into grades 6-8 middle schools. 

In 2020, the district officially became a “Pathways” district, as elementary and middle schools are coming into alignment with the high school model. 

“It’s been five years since Burnsville High School launched it’s Pathways program,” said Superintendent Dr. Theresa Battle. “Since then, we’ve created opportunities and removed barriers so students can find their passion and turn it into their purpose. I’m incredibly proud of the staff, families and community partners who’ve helped make our vision a reality and our school a model for others.”

BHS is unique among high school programs because of its “wall-to-wall” model, which ensures students don’t have to leave the school to participate in any of the classes or Pathways. It’s focus on building those opportunities through partnerships - of which there are more than 200 - ensures resources are maximized, students are learning real-world skills, and that the entire One91 community benefits. 

The Pathways model at BHS has earned dozens of awards and recognitions, as well as nearly $1.7 million in grants and donations.

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