Taylor adds new grad pathways

Feb. 12—The addition of five new classes at Taylor High School will give students more opportunities to graduate.

Three of the classes will help establish an entrepreneurship graduation pathway.

This pathway is one of seven options under a broader business pathway. Taylor High School Principal Brandon Gleason said students were polled about which option they'd prefer. The final vote came down to marketing and entrepreneurship.

"Our students said, 'That's us (entrepreneurship), I want in. I want to know how to sell, market myself and be my own boss,'" Gleason said.

It's one of three new pathways at Taylor High School.

Pathways are part of new graduation requirements from the Indiana Department of Education.

Students are required to earn a high school diploma, learn employability skills and demonstrate post-secondary competencies. These are broad requirements that give students more options to graduate, instead of the one-size-fits-all approach of passing a standardized test.

The new requirements and pathways were first applied to students who were freshmen at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year.

Schools can design their own pathways, which are then approved by the IDOE.

Taylor High School is also adding the Automotive Technician Education Pathway. This graduation route is for students interested in becoming automotive technicians.

The program was created by Chariot Automotive Group, and started this school year. Students who choose this pathway take classes related to the trade and earn credits through Ivy Tech Community College, as well as industry certifications.

Classes are held at Chariot's Tipton location, right of U.S. 31. Chariot officials told the Tribune in the fall they intend to expand the program into Howard County, and that appears to be the case.

Brian Moon, assistant principal at Taylor High School, said Chariot reps recently met with Howard County schools about the program.

"I think it's a very unique opportunity," he said. "We have kids who'd be good at it."

Another class, intermediate concert band, rounds out the necessary course offerings for a civics arts pathway. This one is geared for band and choir students.

It's the only additional class needed to create the pathway at Taylor High School. Gleason said many of the classes for both the civic arts and entrepreneurship pathways were already in place.

"We're trying to create these more pathways to give our kids what they need, but also, this is what makes Taylor stand out," he said.

Students can opt into the new pathways starting this fall, for the 2024-25 school year.

The Taylor School Board approved the new classes Feb. 5.

Rounding out the list of added classes is an Advance College Project (ACP) English course.

Students in their junior year can take this dual-credit class, worth three credits through Indiana University. The offering allows students to get college English credits prior to their senior year.

"They can come out with three semesters of college-level English leaving Taylor," Gleason said.

Teachers who teach ACP classes must go through a training to do so. For every class they teach, they can take one graduate course through IU, for free, on their way to a graduate degree.

Taylor English teacher Nicholas Waite, who will teach the new class, earned his master's degree by teaching the dual-credit courses.

Spencer Durham can be reached at 765-454-8598, by email at spencer.durham@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @Durham_KT.