Pathways to Success is a universal program implemented in 8th grade that is designed to help all students connect what they are doing in school right now to the person they expect to become one day, with an urgency to begin working hard now. Through 12 brief sessions implemented twice per week during the first six weeks of the school year, students discover that now is the time to act, that school is the path to their future self, and that difficulties are to be expected and signal that schoolwork is important. All 8th grade teachers implement Pathways during homeroom, advisory, or another period that works well for each school.
Too many students disengage academically. Pathways helps address two obstacles to engagement. First, students don’t see a concrete connection between their future goals and their current effort and performance in school. Second, students misinterpret their difficulties along the way as meaning that they cannot do it.
Our background research documents that students succeed academically when they connect future images of who they expect to become to current strategies for success in school and interpret difficulties along the way as implying that schoolwork is important. Then, they attend rather than skip class. They take initiative rather than disrupt others. They learn more and get better grades.
With funding from the National Institutes of Health, we documented that students who participate in Pathways are more engaged in school and get better grades. These impacts are clear in 8th grade, get bigger in high school, and can buffer students from the negative consequences of low parent involvement.> View the Research
The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences has funded us to scale up to more schools and we would like you to join us. We provide all needed Pathways training, weekly support during Pathways delivery, materials and resources (including online video and tools) and provide your 8th grade teachers and a guidance counselor compensation for their training time. Our trainers are expert in delivering Pathways and are Chicago Public Schools teachers themselves. We look forward to hearing from you!