This figure has remained constant at Urban Pathways Charter Schools. For the past three years, one hundred percent of Urban Pathways’ seniors have graduated and been accepted into mostly four-year colleges and universities. This consistency is not a stroke of luck, but the result of a carefully calculated educational experience, where the pathway to college begins from the moment Urban Pathways’ five-year-old kindergarten students walk through the door.
Urban Pathways Charter Schools, located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s downtown cultural district, include both a K-5 and a 6-12 school. Both Urban Pathways schools provide a free education for more than 580 students from various Allegheny County school districts. Teachers and staff members at Urban Pathways are committed to creating a learning environment where each student is provided with the necessary support to achieve his or her full potential.
From the very beginning, each Urban Pathways student is equipped with a personal education plan. Starting in kindergarten, students use portfolios to track their learning. The portfolios contain completed projects and test scores. These materials are later reviewed during parent/teacher conferences, also called learning partnerships. Additionally, each kindergarten student is introduced to both short- and long-term goal setting early on.
“College preparation begins by students learning to set goals,” said Urban Pathways K-5 College Charter School principal David Gallup.
He notes that Stephen R. Covey’s seven habits from his best-selling book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” play a large role in the curriculum. Specifically, habit number two: begin with the end in mind. “Students make goals and focus on their ‘end.’ The students then make a plan on how to reach their goals,” Gallup said.
The emphasis on these habits caught the attention of parent Tinisha Hunt. “I was excited when I learned that Covey’s seven habits were a part of the daily curriculum. This shows that the school is about more than just academics and that helped solidify my decision to enroll my son,” she said.