By Denise Green
Greenwood Community HS Student Media Adviser
IHSPA Lifetime Member
Pathways have created a nightmare of singleton classes this year. But, not having a Pathway that specifically includes journalism would have made that nightmare so much worse.
Because this unique Fine Arts Pathway was accepted by the state last year, any Indiana school can use it as long as classes meet the same criteria. Here is our Greenwood set-up. Students must take Journalism 1 or photography as pre-requisites to staff classes. Neither is listed on our Pathway, so other schools would not have to have that same requirement.
The Fine Arts Pathway involves only our production classes — broadcast, newspaper, and yearbook — and requires a minimum of six semesters. The Pathway does not specify that all six credits have to involve the same production class, though. Students could serve on one staff for two years and another staff for one year or any combination to equal the six semesters. I knew this flexibility would be crucial due to the singleton course nightmare.
Also, Fine Arts Pathway students must take two semesters of a CTE course, which include Principles of Business Management, Principles of Teaching, and Principles of Human Services. Other schools might have more CTE courses available, and those are acceptable, too.
For each journalism production semester, students must create two artifacts to show their skills. Obviously, this is as easy as printing (or PDFing) stories, photos, pages, etc. For each, they must write creators’ statements to explain their work. Also, students include personal resumes in their portfolios. We are working through this portfolio piece but anticipate it being something digital. Who in the world would want to store hardcopy portfolios?
An additional requirement involves students demonstrating employability skills related to journalism. For each semester, a student on this Fine Arts Pathway must demonstrates that skills learned apply to the real world. For example, my photographers submit their work for Johnson County Fair open class competition, my writers send articles to local newspapers for publication, and my broadcast students post segments on social media for the community. Honestly, I did not have to add anything to the curriculum for my Pathways kids.
The only issue we have faced involves students who are using Pathways to graduate this year. We have had to dig up their work from previous years for their portfolios.
Obviously, the Pathways concept was generated by legislators who had never tried to schedule students into classes with limited teachers, limited class periods, etc. The theory has merit; the practicality — umm, totally unworkable. But as a journalism adviser who has weathered so many changing mandates from the state over my 30+ years, I hope this response to the newest state-level hoop helps.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.