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Pathways school for career learning on track for 2024 opening

By Jamie Lampros - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Mar 24, 2023

BENJAMIN ZACK, Standard-Examiner file photo

Ogden-Weber Technical College recently opened its new training facility for composites and non-destructive inspection in Ogden. The facility is five times larger than the school's old workspace and designed to meet a growing demand in composite industries.

OGDEN — A new approach to better prepare Ogden School District students for success in today’s changing economy will be housed in a hybrid high school program taking root at Ogden-Weber Technical College.

Expected to be up and running by the fall of 2024, Pathways Learning Center will be a new $13.9 million addition housed at the OWTC campus where students will be able to seek accelerated completion of their high school graduation and also seek a technical education.

For example, a sophomore who wants to become a welder will be able to complete necessary requirements for graduation, such as math, faster than a normal program while also getting started on their welding certification. That student could complete high school requirements a year earlier and immediately get into the welding workforce or go on to a university, said Heather Gerrard, OSD’s executive director of personalized learning pathways and high school supervision.

“Depending on the program at the tech college, the student will spend a portion of the day earning core credit to meet graduation requirements and the other portion at the tech college completing whatever program they’ve chosen,” she said.

The 17,575-square-foot facility will be built on the southeast corner of the existing OWTC campus. It will feature traditional classrooms, small group and individual meeting spaces as well as a large community space for gathering with industry and community representatives, as well as presentations and celebrations. Funding for the center will be through an Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) grant awarded to the Ogden School District during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gerrard said Pathways is being called a learning center for now, but the hope is to get it approved to be called a high school before it opens.

Gerrard said the program has the capacity to accept around 200 students with room to grow to around 300. Once accepted into the program, students in grades 10-12 will be able to attend a program of study at the technical college while completing math, English, social studies and a career and technical education (CTE) business capstone course through competency-based education at Pathways.

“The program is geared toward accelerating a student’s ability to meet both high school graduation and industry certification requirements,” said Jer Bates, communications manager for the Ogden School District.

“Where appropriate, the work that a student accomplishes in their OWTC program will be able to count as competencies for their core work at Pathways. Students will have the opportunity to complete their other graduation requirements and extracurricular activities at their traditional high school or through Ogden School District online courses.”

Each student’s schedule will be tailored to their high school graduation and OWTC program needs for an individualized program that aligns to their college and career readiness goals.

“Student hands-on training will take place at OWTC as they move toward completing their program and industry certification,” Bates said. “Depending on the program of study at OWTC, students will experience hands-on learning that is tied directly to the industry certification requirements and workforce development.”

Gerrard said while there are other programs similar to this one, she hasn’t found a center in the nation quite like it.

“The technical college component makes it very unique,” she said. “When I think about the opportunities the Pathway Center is going to offer, it’s so exciting and our partnership with the tech college here is an absolutely wonderful example of how post-secondary schools and high schools can work together to really create something amazing for our community and our students.”


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