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February 2nd, 2021

TDOE Announces 94 High Schools Including Cannon County High School Earn the Tennessee Pathways Certification; Doubles Number of Career Pathways Statewide

280+ Certified Pathways in Tennessee to Connect Students with Regional Career Opportunities

NASHVILLE & WOODBURY – Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced 159 pathways in 94 high schools and 51 districts have earned the Tennessee Pathways Certification for creating regional postsecondary opportunities. This more than doubles the number of Certified Pathways in Tennessee, bringing the total to 281 Certified Pathways in 136 high schools and 69 districts.  

Launched in 2019 in partnership with the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), the Tennessee Pathways Certification sets clear expectations for alignment, advisement, and partnerships that define strong education-to-career pathways. Beyond establishing standards for program quality and design, the certification elevates and celebrates innovative and exemplary pathways in the state.    

The Full list of the 2020 Tennessee Certified Pathways (opens in a new window)

Cannon County Schools

Cannon County High School | Emergency Services

“Tennessee is committed to building strong college and career pathways statewide,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Students benefit from having exposure to high-quality career pathways, and these pathways will serve to enhance our state’s future success and outcomes. We are proud to have more than doubled the number of Certified Pathways and this tremendous growth speaks to our districts, communities, and partners’ shared values of strong education-to-career pathways. The department is proud to support every district across all regions working to further develop, enhance, and grow these opportunities.” 

In preparation for the 2020 application cycle, the department made several key improvements based on district feedback and lessons learned from the initial application cycle in 2019 while making accommodations for COVID-19 disruptions.  

All schools serving grades 9-12 in Tennessee were eligible to apply and each pathway was evaluated through a rigorous application process in which schools detailed their postsecondary and employer partnerships, early college and career experiences, and structures for providing students with impactful career advisement. 

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, districts submitted 188 total applications for the Tennessee Pathways Certification, representing every region of the state, 108 high schools, and 57 districts during the 2019-20 application cycle.  

“The growth in the number of certified Pathways and participating high schools and districts underscores the quality of the work being done by the Pathways team and our K-12 partners,” said Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings. “After the first year, they all worked together to improve the certification process – maintaining the rigorous standards while enhancing clarity, transparency and training to enable more schools to participate. But what’s really important is the impact on students across the state, who are using the Pathways to chart their individual course to college and postsecondary training needed for high-quality careers in their communities and anywhere in the state.” 

Tennessee Pathways is structured around three key elements shown to increase seamless enrollment and success in postsecondary programs:  

  1. High-quality college and career advisement throughout K-12
  2. Rigorous early postsecondary and work-based learning opportunities in high school
  3. Seamless vertical alignment between K-12, postsecondary programs, and career opportunities as a result of effective partnerships among school districts, higher education institutions, employers, and community organizations

In spring 2019, 81 Tennessee school districts—representing 162 high schools—submitted 415 pathways for the inaugural Certification cycle. Subsequently, 122 pathways representing 74 high schools in 39 districts earned the Certification in the first year of the program. 

On Feb. 8-9, the new Tennessee Certified Pathways will be recognized at the CTE Director’s meeting. 

Locally, Cannon County Schools CTE (Career and Technical Education) Director Crystal Kennedy stated, “The Tennessee Pathways Certification is an initiative program for K-12 schools with the goal of preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s Tennessee. The rigorous application process ensures that the reviewed Program of Study is high quality and offers early post-secondary opportunities including Work Based Learning, Industry Certifications, and a Dual Credit and/or Dual Enrollment agreement with a post-secondary institution. Industry partnership within the community is also a key component to gaining certification. With the hard work and dedication of our highly-trained staff, Cannon County High School’s Emergency Services Program of Study, meets and exceeds these requirements.” 

Cannon County High School Principal Courtney Nichols commented, “These are exciting times at Cannon County High School!  This will help prepare our Health Science students and post-secondary success and preparation for a Emergency Medical Services careers.” 

Director of Cannon County Schools, Mr. William F. Curtis stated, “I am very excited that Cannon County Schools was included in this year’s announcement!  Our CTE Director Mrs. Crystal Kennedy and CCHS Principal Mr. Courtney Nichols have been working with Ms. Amy Profant – Upper Cumberland Regional Coordinator for Tennessee Pathways in this detailed process.  I look forward as our personnel are examining multiple other ‘Pathways’ for our students at Cannon County High School.  This is a great example of our Cannon County Schools’ personnel working to fulfill OUR VISION – ‘Engaged in Excellence EVERY Day in EVERY Way!’ through Our MISSION – ‘To Create a Unified Environment That Will Provide Opportunities for All Students to Reach Their Full Potential!’”   

For media inquiries, please contact Mr. William F. Curtis, Director of Cannon County Schools at 629-201-4801 Extension 10101 or at williamf.curtis@ccstn.net for local Cannon County Schools information.

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