By Lynn Palacios, Instructional Coach, Barry Goldwater High School
In January 2019, the Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD) launched DVUSD Pathways to provide additional opportunities to students who needed flexibility in their schedule, wanted to accelerate their school experience, or needed to recover credits. This district gem is hosted by the Barry Goldwater and Boulder Creek high school campuses, but students from any of the high schools in DVUSD are eligible to participate. The program offers 7-week enrollment sessions, classes meet four days a week that utilize a block schedule, running for two hours and 45 minutes. There are five enrollment periods over the course of the year, two each in the fall and spring, and one in the summer. During each 7-week session, five courses are offered, with the course menu changing each session. Interested DVUSD students work with their school counselor to enroll in the program.
During the 2019-2020 school year, 437 students enrolled and completed their Pathways courses, offered in 18 different subjects. One hundred and thirty-two students challenged themselves by enrolling in both blocks. Pathways was able to assist 85 seniors in meeting the state requirements for the May 2020 graduation milestone.
Students also consider the Pathways program to open their course schedule in their junior and senior year to participate in CTE courses, Dual Enrollment opportunities, WEST-MEC, or planning for an early graduation.
Guided by its core values of being Diverse, Vigorous, Uplifting, Data Driven, and promoting Success, DVUSD Pathways offers students smaller class sizes, the chance to build stronger relationships between students and teachers, and compressed semesters. Paula Collins is the DVUSD Pathways principal, but the program’s faculty varies depending on the courses offered during a given enrollment session.
This past fall, DVUSD Pathways introduced to the community their mascot, the Phoenix. This mascot was suggested by faculty member Mr. Darrell Hudson, a world history teacher. “I keep thinking that the ancient Greek mythical bird, the Phoenix, would be a great [mascot] because it regenerates itself, obtains new life, and I feel like Pathways gives a lot of our students that new life, that chance to regenerate and instead of ‘crashing and burning,’ they ‘rise up’ and reach their potential,” he says.
A current senior from Sandra Day O’Connor High School says, “After a difficult move, some failed classes, and a lot of confusion, I was terrified for the rest of my high school career. Being introduced to the Pathways program, I finally felt hope for the first time in years. With the help of amazing staff and informative courses, I felt that I had truly received the best support possible to create my academic success. This program has taught me so much responsibility. I would genuinely recommend it to any student needing credits.”
For more information about DVUSD Pathways, visit their program website at dvusd.org/pathways. Students are also encouraged to get more information from their high school counselor.