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Ninth-graders must choose career paths under states new education system
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Officials with the Georgia Department of Education recently announced that they’ve developed courses for a new education model geared toward helping students find potential career paths, and the framework will require all ninth-graders to choose a “career pathway” as they begin high school.

Under the “career clusters” structure, Georgia DOE officials say, the ninth-graders will choose one of 17 career pathways, based on what they’d like to study in college. The pathways range from business management and administration to world languages and are based on a set of core curricula and electives.

Newton County School System superintendent-elect Samantha Fuhrey said the concept is not new for Newton students, as the school system has been implementing career pathways for the past four years.

“The implementation of career pathways is inclusive of the work being accomplished at the Newton College and Career Academy. NCCA was built with the goal of increasing career pathway choices for students,” Fuhrey said.
Under the state’s new framework, rising ninth-graders will choose a career path for the 2013-14 school year. The state’s framework also will add pathways in advanced academics, world languages and fine arts to students’ choices.

In anticipation of the state’s decision, the school system also has created district-wide career guidance plans for counselors at all levels (elementary, middle and high schools). The counselors conducted an extensive study of career pathways in their professional learning last year.

Fuhrey said the school system previously used GACollege 411, a free service provided by the state, to assist in advising students on career pathway choices. None of the state’s new initiatives will cost the district any funds.
In 2011, the General Assembly voted to allow the DOE to implement the career pathways program.

State School Superintendent John Barge says the “new career pathways will keep students engaged and on the road to graduation.”

He said many students drop out of school because they can’t connect classroom experiences to practical applications.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.