Pathways to Success is a statewide initiative from the Mississippi Department of Education that aims to get students thinking about their future careers early in their secondary schooling so that they can take courses during high school that align to these career interests and graduate from high school ready for their postsecondary plans.
Training to implement Pathways to Success began in 2011, and the system was fully implemented in 2012. Counselors, teachers, and directors have regular training and professional-development opportunities to learn about adapting the system to fit their local needs and to most benefit their students.
Many resources to help educators stay up to date on Pathways to Success are provided in the table below. Please keep in mind that these resources are “living” and that sometimes content and dates may change. Please check this site often for updated information.
Click PTS logo to access videos.
This area provides materials to support on-site training to school personnel related to Pathways to Success.
Day 1 - Pathways to Success Presentation
Day 1 - Training Packet
Day 2 - Pathways to Success Presentation
Day 2 - Training Packet
PtS training - Spring 2013 New Participant.pptx
New participant Handout.pdf
PtS training - Spring 2013 Update Participant.pptx
Spring Update 2013 handout.pdf
This area provides materials to support the use of the Choices software and training school personnel.
XAP Customer Support - 1.800.281.1168
Choices Session 2 archived webinar
Choices Session 3 archived webinar
Choices Session 4 archived webinar
Choices Session 5 archived webinar
This area provides current research to support the implementation of Pathways to Success.
This area provides materials to support daily counselor operations, such as Graduation Diploma Options, IHL requirements, Career Pathway Option requirements, and much, much more.
The goal of Dream It. Do It. Mississippi is to create awareness among young people of the outstanding career opportunities that exist in manufacturing today and foster improvements in the system for connecting them with information, training and job opportunities in manufacturing.
The following documents were created and submitted by Mary Dunaway, ICT II teacher at Brandon Middle School, on how she incorporates the Choices software into her daily curriculum. This is just an example of how a teacher can implement Choices.
Career PowerPoint Directions
Career Research Graphic Organizer
Career Brochure Template
Career Research Paper (MLA)
Samples from ICT I Curriculum
Unit 7_Competency 1 - Career Pathways Brochure
Unit 7_Competency 2 - Career Research
Unit 7_Competency 2 - Cluster Finder Definitions
This area provides basic up-to-date information for the implementation of Pathways to Success.
The following videos tell the story of how Pathways to Success creates an individualized Career and Academic Plan that gives students a direct connection between doing well in high school and being able to transition smoothly to postsecondary opportunities or to a good job when they graduate.
Q: How do we handle other graduation tracks in our district that are not the same as the three MDE graduation options?
A: Each district has up to three options to a standard diploma. If the question is how to handle the Mississippi Occupational Diploma, you must follow the guideline from the Office of Special Education.
Q: How do we ensure that the data for the courses are entered and maintained with consistency? I am concerned that there may not be uniformity with the courses and/or data. How will this affect the reports done by the MDE?
A: Your district will be responsible for the data at each high school in your district. The district will be responsible for updating information just as you update your MSIS files. Updating the course catalog in Choices is an ongoing process and must be reviewed and updated each year. New CTE Pathways/Programs of Study are being added each year. The courses will need to be edited as these are added.
Q: Can we import the data from the course plans in Choices into SAMS?
A: No, not at this time. Bridges does offer district Custom Portfolio Services for an additional fee. Student portfolios and professional accounts are automatically created, skipping the account-creation process. Students' completed and enrolled courses, grades and earned credits are electronically transferred to their portfolios, and district course catalogs are uploaded. Once course plans are completed, they can be uploaded into the SIS for scheduling.
Q: Our students will have to enter their courses twice—one time in Choices to complete their iCAPs and then a second time in our online scheduling program to enter their course schedules. It will be difficult to get them to do it twice. Can we import from Choices to our scheduling program?
A: See answer to No. 3.
Q: This is too much work; why can’t the state have this done for us?
A: This is the first step in meeting the mandate for course planning. It would be very costly for the MDE to pay for these customizations for all districts and schools. The MDE pays the cost of Choices Planner for all high schools and Choices Explorer for all middle schools.
Q: Isn’t there a better way to upload course information from year to year?
A: See answer to No. 3.
Q: Is there training on how to use Choices Planner with the high school students? We have no idea where to start.
A: This year, the MDE is focusing on assisting 8th-grade students in developing their iCAPs. Choices Explorer (middle school) and Choices Planner (high school) training can be purchased directly from Bridges/XAP. A full day of training is offered at $1,000 per day. Contact Diane Grantham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next year, in the 2012-2013 school year, free training will be offered to districts, teaching them to use Choices Planner in grades 9-12 and other sessions that are needed. This training has been provided in the past through the career centers. Because those centers are no longer in service, the MDE will provide training for districts. It was important to begin with the input and 8th grade this year and move to high school next year.
Q: What if the 9th graders come to us with no iCAP? Who is going to get them started?
A: The high school will work with each student to help them develop an iCAP. If a feeder school is not sending students to the high school with the iCAP completed, then the district office should be notified so that appropriate action can be taken. For students moving into your school system, counselors or assigned district personnel should help students and their parents develop iCAPs when the students register. There are step-by-step instruction flyers for working with 9th graders who do not already have an iCAP.
Q: How are schools going to be held accountable for participating in this process (iCAP, course plans, etc.)?
A: Accreditation Standard 20 requires the student to complete an iCAP before exiting 8th grade. Schools will be held accountable through the MDE audit process.
Q: E-learning modules will be good as a refresher, but we need hands-on, face-to-face training on Choices Explorer and Choices Planner.
A: This year, the MDE is focusing on training teachers and counselors to work with eighth-grade students to develop the iCAP. The online modules and/or webinars include training on Choices Explorer and the development of the iCAP, which is done in Choices Planner.
Face-to-face Choices Explorer (middle school) and Choices Planner (high school) training can be purchased directly from Bridges/XAP. A full day of training is offered at $1,000 per day. See No. 7 above.
Additional training will be provided by the MDE free of charge to the local districts for the 2012-2013 school year.
Q: Our counselors input the eighth-grade students’ course schedules for ninth grade in late May or over the summer after the Mississippi Curriculum Test (MCT) scores have come in. These MCT scores are used to determine the level at which students are placed in academic classes. Students do not get to select classes. Is the iCAP the eighth grader makes out in the second semester just completed knowing changes will have to be made? The counselors say they will not be going back in Choices and making changes since the student can do this in the fall of his or her ninth-grade year. How can the iCAP be accurate from the beginning? Wouldn't all this input of course offerings be used by the counselor to plan the class schedules?
A: There will always be changes made to an iCAP, either because of test scores or because of students who change their minds. The district can determine how it will update the iCAP, but changes should be made in a timely manner to ensure that students and parents have an accurate plan for the each student’s future.
Q: Our school offers Carpentry at the CTE center, but we do not offer the courses listed in the CTE Carpentry pathway. Will our students still be able to graduate with the Career Pathways option? (This question was asked about several of the CTE pathways.)
A: All districts will be converting the listed courses in Carpentry beginning in the school year 2012-2013. At this time, all conversions will be completed and only the pathways listed will be taught. If a student is currently in the old curriculum, he or she may graduate under those courses for the Career Pathways option.
Q: My district does not have any CTE courses, how do the students pursue the Career Pathway option?
A: Without options in CTE, a student cannot graduate under the Career option. The MDE is investigating online options for the future, but this is not in place at this time. The MDE is also exploring some dual-credit options with community colleges, but these are also future options.
Q: What kind of reports will the MDE require from my school?
A: No reports will be required. All of the information we need we can assess through the Choices programs at the state level. The MDE can pull all of the information on a district through Choices to identify usage, programs of study, and any other needed information.
Q: How does communication come from the State Department?
A. Communication from the State Department will come from Superintendents Monday Memo on the MDE website, email of pathways to success training participants, principal, curriculum coordinator, and counseling listervs.
Q: Will we receive a manual outlining what we are expected to do and when we are to do it?
A: There is no manual for implementation. The district will be provided materials through Choices training and the website with materials for Choices use. There is no set timeline because districts do preregistration and student advisement in numerous ways. The MDE does not want to set timelines that interfere with a district’s spring preregistration activities. As this initiative is improved each year, there will be timelines for completion of different activities. The only timeline needed this year is for eighth graders to leave middle school with an iCAP in place.
Q: How do I know what cluster my courses fall under?
A. You can find our cluster names for CTE pathways by going to www.rcu.msstate.edu (Curriculum). You can also visit the National Career Cluster website, http://www.careertech.org/, in which the state of Mississippi follows for titles of clusters.
Q: What if the student changes schools?
A: Other courses may be different at another school. Students should update their course plans each year because their plans will change as they learn more from career and education exploration.
Q: What if a student fails ICT 1 or ICT 2? Do they retake these?
A: ICT 1 and ICT 2 are courses offered at the district level; neither course is required to earn a diploma. A district can determine what happens if a student fails the course. If a student is taking ICT 2 for the computer credit in high school, this class will have to be repeated or another computer class will have to be taken for the computer credit needed for graduation.
Q: There are some courses with similar but different names. Are courses such as Automotive Service Technician and Automotive Service Technology the same?
A: No, these are different offerings. Check course numbers. There are documents on the Pathways to Success website that offer course-number information for all new pathways.
Q: Does the teacher need to delete the CTE courses if they are not offered at their school?
A: Yes, only courses offered at the school should be in the courses listing for the school.
Q: Do the teachers need to add all the elective courses for all the pathways even if the school does not offer the pathway?
A: No, only list classes that are offered in your school district for students to select from.
Q: Can we do screen captures from Choices as a how-to guide for training participants once they have returned to their district and have questions or need to train others in their district?
A: A detailed step-by-step guide with screen captures for customizing the course offerings at your school was provided to each participant at the trainings.
These screen captures can be found at the following link: http://www.rcu.msstate.edu/MDE.aspx.
Q: Whom can I contact when I run into problems?
A: If the question is about implementation or district policies for implementation, contact Jean Massey at the MDE at email@example.com or Betsey Smith, Betsey.firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the question is about the Choices course input or reporting, call the XAP support line at 1.800.281.1168.
Q: How can we change our classes from Discovery to ICT?
A: District superintendents decided at the end of the 2010-2011 school year how the district would continue with the three courses from the old Tech Prep of Career, Computer and Technology Discovery. If a district wishes to change its plan, it can contact Jean Massey at the MDE for guidance.
Q: Can CTE courses now be offered in the ninth grade?
A: There are certain CTE classes that will be available to ninth graders. The final list of classes will be sent to districts in January 2013.
Q: When students enter 8th grade course credits in the 7-8 tab, they don't roll over to the 9-12 tab as credits completed. Is there any way the high school part of the iCAP could pick up that info or do we just need to enter the completed 8th grade credits in the 9-12 tab?A: The courses that student take in the 8th grade for credit should be entered in the 9-12 tab to roll up in the total credits for the subject area. The credits will not roll over if they are entered in the 7-8 tab.
Q: How do I remove a student who had dropped from school’s enrollment?
Go to Professional Tools, click Site Administration. On the left click Delete and Release. Find the student by name and follow the steps on screen to Release or Delete. Releasing will remove the student from your school but allow the student to pick up his/her portfolio and use it at another school. Deleting the student will remove the student and he/she will not be able to use the portfolio account again. Releasing is recommended.
Q: Is there a way the middle school can see the courses/pathways that the high school has set up? For example, the Middle School sends students to High School. They need to be able to see what has been set up as courses offered at the HS level for each pathway. Currently they do not see my information.
A: When students complete the 8th grade Guideway in Choices Explorer at the middle school, the last step (9) instructs them to move their portfolio to the high school. They then complete the 8th Grade Guideway Part 2 in Choices Planner at the high school. This allows them to use the course catalog for the high school to select the courses for their four-year plan (iCAP).
Q: What needs to be in place before the 8th grade students start doing the iCAP?
A: The first thing that must be in place before you begin the iCAP is the Course Catalog at the high school must complete. Once verified as being complete and up-to-date, the student should begin by completing the steps of the MS 8th Grade Guideway in Choices Explorer at the middle school and continue until the steps of the MS 8th Grade Guideway Part 2 in Choices Planner at the high school are complete.
Q: I am noticing that some of the ICAPs were submitted for approval and some were not. What were the students supposed to do to submit their iCAPs?
A: When students are following the Guideway Steps, after they select their courses for the iCAP, there is a link near the top right where they can Submit for Approval. This is sort of a check and balance for them to make sure they have selected all the courses and the correct number of units in each subject area. If they click the Submit for Approval and they have not, they will get a pop-up window reminding them they have not chosen the correct number of courses. If they miss this step of Submitting for Approval, the teacher/counselor can still review and approve the plan.
Q: Do the students have to Submit for Approval for it to show them as "on track"?
A: No, the Submit feature is a check and balance for the students to make sure they have selected all their courses before they move on. Regardless of whether they submit or not, their plan will still show and will be OnTrack if they have selected the correct courses and the appropriate number of units.
Q: Do I have to Approve the plans before they show as "on track"?
Q: How do we know the names of students who have no course plan or graduation requirements?
A: In the Professional Tools, click the Tracker Tab, select Manage Course Plans. You will see a summary of OnTrack, OffTrack, No Plan, etc. by Graduation Year. Click on the hyperlink number and you will see list of the students.
Q: What if a student has 2 or more portfolios? Will this affect my reporting? What can I do to get rid of the extra portfolios?
A: If students have multiple portfolios, your reporting will be inaccurate. Reporting is based on the number of portfolios. Students should only have one portfolio. If they have more than one, they should be merged.
To Merge the portfolios, the Choices administrator at your school will need to log in to the Professional Tools. Click Site Administration, click Merge Portfolios. Next, search for the two portfolios you wish to merge - either from the class list or by name. Then follow the instructions on the screen.
Q: How do we handle the students with changes to their names OR they put in Choices the name they are called, not the name as it appears in PowerSchool? We have several of those that we've had to match up. Will it base it on the MSIS ID?
A:If you want the names corrected, follow these instructions. Student will sign into Portfolio, click Your Portfolio tab. Click "All About You". Near the top of the page, you will see the Personal Information, click "Edit Personal Info". On the next page, student can edit personal information such as Name, Year of Graduation, etc. At the bottom of the page, click "Save Your Personal Info".
The MSIS ID is the official ID between Choices and your MSIS if it is entered correctly.
Q: What about students that show as 9th graders but they truly are repeating 9th graders and have a different year of graduation in Choices because they really will graduate in a year other than 2016?
A: Use the steps above to correct the Grad year.
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