Exploration, new experiences are foundation to Pathways for District 191 elementary students
It can seem hard for someone who doesn’t work in District 191 to truly get a sense for what’s happening every day in our schools. I’m fortunate enough to get to see inside schools every week, witnessing firsthand the brilliance of our students, the creativity and professionalism of our teachers, and the dedication of all our staff.
You can get a sense of that, though, thanks to social media, either by following the official District 191 accounts or our staff members’ individual accounts, especially on Twitter and Instagram.
If you were doing that in October, for instance, you would have seen some posts that would start to show you how our Pathways model is growing at the elementary level. Our schools are sparking wonder in students with new experiences. For instance, in Becca Buck’s music classroom at Gideon Pond Elementary, students learned about the Onondaga nation through handmade instruments, music and stories.
At Rahn Elementary, students participated in the school’s Enrichment Academy, a new opportunity where student choice, creativity and exploration are on full display. Every student gets to choose an activity they want to explore, like learning to juggle, playing the ukulele or speaking French. For one hour of the school day and three times per semester, the entire school is engaged in the learning and exploration of a new experience.
These types of experiences and activities are happening throughout our schools now. They spark our students’ curiosity and wonder about what’s possible in their future, and they set the basis for future growth and exploration in middle and high school.
As part of our becoming a Pathways district, we’ve also added advanced learning specialists at every elementary school, we’re adding instrumental music experiences for 5th graders, and we’re expanding our coding and design curriculum.
And there’s more to come. In the next years, elementary students will start having theater and performing arts opportunities, project-based learning around entrepreneurship and design, and career activities in health and well-being.
All of these changes and enhancements are aligned to what students will experience in middle and high school, helping them prepare for success on whatever path they choose for themselves. District 191 is at the beginning of our journey to becoming a Pathway district, and it’s exciting to see our students also at the beginning of their journeys to find their own pathways.
- Superintendent's Column