The Union Recorder

September 11, 2013

BHS freshmen get focused on college, careers

Vaishali Patel
The Union-Recorder


Baldwin High School freshmen are taking courses that are more streamlined based on each student’s career pathway under a new high school model that began with this school year’s freshmen class across the state.

“The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) has initiated a redesign of the CTAE pathway offerings,” said Teresa Phillips, Baldwin High School’s CTAE director. “With State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge’s direction, they have changed pathway concentrations to the new Career Cluster/Pathway model.”

With the help of teachers, parents and guidance counselors, ninth-graders are required to choose a pathway in one of 17 Georgia Career Clusters, or in the areas of advanced academics, fine arts and world languages. Students take courses tailored to their cluster to help them navigate their way to greater success and to show them the relevance of what they’re learning in the classroom.

“Students in the 10th through 12th grade are still under the old pathway model, and students coming in as ninth-graders will be under the new cluster model. We still offer the same programs, except the pathways have been redesigned and the standards for those courses are being redeveloped,” Phillips said. “The new model makes it easier to transition students to pathways and have them ready to attend a two-year college, a four-year university, or go directly into the workforce.”

At Baldwin High, students have the option of choosing from 12 Career Clusters, including architecture and construction, agriculture, food and natural resources, arts, audio/video technology and communications, business management and administration, education and training, government and public administration, health science, hospitality and tourism, human services, information technology, marketing, and transportation, distribution and logistics.

“The revisions to the pathway courses within these clusters are pretty much to help deliver a more quality program,” Phillips said. “I think the new model is much more streamlined and we will see a steady increase in identified pathways, an increase in the number of students who complete CTAE career clusters, increase in students who have earned industry recognized credentials, and an increase in the graduation rate.”

A comprehensive counseling and advisement program being implemented in Georgia is developing an Individual Graduation Plan for eighth-grade students that will be reviewed on an ongoing basis throughout their high school years.

“If a student starts off in the ninth grade in a pathway they’re not interested in, there’s room to change. They still have time to play with their schedule and expand their interest into other areas,” Phillips said. “We have to start as early as the elementary grades to highlight career awareness and exploration. Hopefully students will be exposed to career opportunities through middle school and the eighth grade transition, to exposing them to opportunities at the high school.”

Georgia’s initiative is based on the national Career Cluster model.

For more information about the new college and career pathway model, visit

The GaDOE contributed to this report.

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