BY KAREN CAMPBELL
Special to The Enterprise
DRESDEN (February 9) – Last week, Tennessee Pathways notified district administration that Dresden High School has earned the status as a Certified Pathway for Veterinary and Animal Science.
In the letter acknowledging the school’s efforts, Program Directors Ellen Bohle and Pamela Sieffert describe Tennessee Pathways as committed to “building high-quality pathways for every student in our state” The letter further states the Certification recognition “elevates and celebrates innovative and exemplary pathways in the state.” The partnership between the Tennessee Department of Education and the Tennessee Board of Regents was launched in 2019.
According to the program’s website, Dresden’s certification shows that the veterinary and animal science classes there:
- Offer students the opportunity to move seamlessly into postsecondary education and the workforce because of close alignment between area K-12 school districts, postsecondary institutions, and employers;
- Provide the opportunity for students to stack credentials — that is, build from one credential to the next in order to gain knowledge and skills that can lead to higher wages and broader employment opportunities;
- Accelerate student progress toward an industry or postsecondary credential, thereby reducing time and cost as a student transitions from education to employment; and
- Serve as a process of discernment, not a destination or “track” – they simply provide a jumpstart toward a student’s chosen path.
To earn the distinction, school and district teachers and administrators had to provide documentation such as data snapshots of demographics and evidence of curriculum aligned with local industries including work-based learning; examples of student recruitment and retention strategies; an overview of teacher continuing education and professional development related to in-demand industry credentials; and artifacts that show Weakley County Schools’ partnerships with community business leaders to introduce and provide transition to opportunities post-graduation.
“This pathway was made possible by our postsecondary partnership with the University of Tennessee at Martin and an industry partnership with Tosh Farms,” noted Career and Technical Director Lindsey Parham.
In their announcement letter, Bohle and Sieffert wrote, “We know that you and your team saw similar and new challenges in the 2021-22 school year; we all aspired to achieve a sense of normalcy while also addressing new challenges. In the face of continuous uncertainty, we admire and appreciate how districts and schools, administrators and teachers, students and families continue to work harder than ever. Please accept our sincere gratitude for your leadership during this time and all that you do on behalf of students.”
Each application was reviewed by two independent reviewers, then audited for accuracy and consistency. As a result, the team will certify a total of 102 pathways for the 2021 application cycle, including 6 newly certified districts and 18 high schools.
Beyond recognition, providing detailed, constructive feedback and technical support to each district is a central component of the Certification process.
Parham said business pathways are next on the agenda.
“We will be looking for partners – businesses in the community – who will provide feedback support and potential work-based learning placements,” she added.