Tennessee Pathways — to jobs and post-secondary education — are offered to students at D-B EXCEL, an alternative learning high school serving Kingsport. The certification comes through the efforts of the school’s administrative team in developing a clear and guided course alignment validated through K-12, post-secondary institutions and industry partnerships.
"I am especially proud of what these two certifications represent,” D-B EXCEL Principal Shanna Hensley said. “Our teachers deserve all of the credit for ensuring that a rigorous secondary curriculum aligns with the student development guaranteed within each pathway. These pathways are just another step in how early post-secondary opportunities need to be leveraged for the success of all of our students as they move past graduation. Most importantly, the validation of these pathways demonstrates how EXCEL students are continuing to utilize their education to equip and empower themselves for a more prosperous future."
The certification committee received 415 pathway applications from 81 school districts statewide. From these applications, D-B EXCEL’s two pathways were among 122 awarded certification. The Tennessee Pathway celebration was on Nov. 7 at the LEAD Conference in Nashville. D-B EXCEL offers virtual and blended learning, digital content, instructional technology, data analytics and emphasizes teacher/student relationships to support an environment that emphasized personalized learning, according to its website.
Community partners in the pathways programs include Appalachian Sustainable Development, BAE Systems, Bell Helicopter, Cumberland Marketing, Eastman, Healthy Kingsport, The Inventor Center, Keep Kingsport Beautiful, Kingsport Aquatic Center, Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, Kingsport Mini Maker Faire, STREAMWORKS, Visit Kingsport and Zion Marine.
The communications pathway offers a curriculum enrichment within the skill-set required for these types of jobs. Through the development of mastery in the competencies of communication, students will develop mastery in disciplines, such as marketing, digital design, business management and technical/process writing.
D-B EXCEL staff and a student leadership team have worked in the community to develop an internal curriculum that supports these goals and utilizes the external resources of our community to enhance student experiences as they relate to the pathway. At the end of their tenure at DBE, students will have worked within courses specifically designed by instructors, related to standards, researched to fit the industry needs and support student success in their post-secondary endeavors.
The STEM or science, technology, engineering and math, pathway provides a foundation for students with the skills necessary to succeed in traditional competencies of math and science.
Through the development of mastery in STEM competencies, students will develop a critical-awareness and inquiry-minded education that fosters success in an open job market, as shown through the growth and availability of technical and engineering jobs. The formation of this competency is further supported by a report published by the state Department of Workforce and Development. The report states the current job analysis conducted statewide suggests that the most open job market in the upcoming year is within the domain of manufacturing, a career heavily reliant on today’s STEM education.