Omaha Public Schools College & Career Academies and Pathways

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Questions and Answers

What is the difference between an academy and a pathway? 
During their Freshman year, students will select an academy or a pathway at their school. Students in both academies and pathways take their core classes (English, math, social studies and science) along with career-focused classes and electives. Student choices are what determine the differences in high school experience. To understand the options, we have provided a definition below:

  • Academies are a small learning community with a career focus. Groups of students with a similar career interest take classes together. Career-focused classes proceed from one to the next in a series. 
  • Pathways are a series of four or more classes focused on a group of related careers, or cluster. Students in a pathway take classes with a wide range of other students across career interests. 

When does the proposed Omaha Public Schools College & Career Academies and Pathways launch? 
Freshman Academy will begin in fall 2021 at all seven high schools. Upon board approval, our district will build upon academy and pathway offerings each year, for the following three years. 

What is Freshman Academy?
Our district recognizes the important transition from middle school to high school. As all Omaha Public Schools students enter their high school journey, they will participate in Freshman Academy. They will explore careers and focus on skills for success in high school and beyond. Students will participate in a freshman seminar course, career exploration and college experiences prior to choosing an academy or pathway in the spring of their freshman year. 

Will students have access to electives like performing and fine arts, JROTC and world languages? 
Yes! Our District believes it is important for students to have a well-rounded education. All students will continue to have access to a variety of electives that include the performing and fine arts, world languages, JRTOC and other extra-curricular activities. 

Will students be able to participate in extra-curricular activities? 
Yes! Omaha Public Schools believes in the importance of a well-rounded education. Students will still have access to extra-curricular activities. New clubs or organizations may also be available to align with academies and pathways. 

Will students continue to have access to support services for special education and English Learners? 
Yes! Students will continue to have access to support services that enhance their academic experience. 

Will students be able to change their academy or pathway? 
School counselors will be available to talk with students who feel the need to change their academy or pathway. They will help students determine the best options. Students may change their academy/pathway one time. Academies and pathways are designed for students to learn the Portrait of a Graduate skills that will be essential beyond high school. Since those skills are transferable from one career to another, students won’t necessarily need to change their academy or pathway. In addition, we want to ensure students have enough coursework in their academy and pathway to complete their senior capstone successfully. 

What is the senior capstone project? 
The senior capstone project will be a culminating activity that students complete as part of their academy or pathway experience. The project will be designed to pull from what students learned in their career academy or pathway. The project will be an opportunity for students to highlight what they have learned and present their mastery of the Portrait of a Graduate skills.