Traditional learning models focus on what happens within the four walls of the classroom, we seek to create a permeable school model where the world comes into the school, and the students connect their learning to the world around them. Our Pathways program increases access to career-connected learning opportunities for students. All students at Building 21 Philadelphia participate in Pathways.
Pathways opportunities include dual enrollment, internships with community partners, electives taught by industry professionals, and career immersion experiences.
We were excited to have the program back and in person in Fall 2021. Students took advantage of Pathways to gain insight into college and careers. Below are a few highlights from last school year.
Getting Ahead with Job Experience and College Credits.
Our students can earn college credits through dual enrollment – the opportunity to complete college-level coursework and earn college credits. Students take a college course while enrolled in high school and an Institution of Higher Education. Dual enrollment offers rigorous courses and provides an introduction to and preparation for college life and expectations. In addition, these programs offer an accelerated pathway through college that saves students time and money. Current dual enrollment partners include:
- Harrisburg University
- LaSalle University
- The Community College of Philadelphia
- and Arizona State University.
We were proud to have 18 students receive dual enrollment credit in the 2021-2022 school year.
After two years of virtual experiences, Building 21 Philadelphia launched in-person internships for 11th-grade students in the Spring. We had 66 students complete the internships with companies, including:
- Fleishman School of Art
- Camden Aquarium
- Princeton University Computer Architecture
- and Broad St Animal Hospital.
Chose Your Adventure.
Electives are self-selected courses providing students to explore their interests and passions. Our electives are taught by Guest Teachers who are industry professionals. Classes in the 2021-2022 school year included biotechnology, anatomy, animation, game design, cosmetology, culinary arts, and robotics.
For our Robotics elective, Building 21 Philadelphia partners with the Philadelphia Robotics Coalition. In the fall, our robotics cohort entered their first competition and went head to head with several seasoned teams as they advanced to the semi-finals in the RoboJawn competition in May. In addition, they have participated in a Design It! Workshop, a Build It! Workshop and Program It! Workshop facilitated by the Philadelphia Robotics Coalition to prepare for qualifiers in January/February 2023.
Student leadership abounded as one of our juniors took the lead in forming a mentorship program at Wagner Middle School. Nine students completed their junior internships through this initiative. The teachers and students were thrilled with the support received from Building 21 students.
Also, Senator Art Haywood invited 20 tenth graders to participate in a weekly academic summit with professors from LaSalle University. Students visited classes and toured the campus at the end of the program. It was the first time most of these young scholars had visited the campus, which is less than 2 miles from Building 21 Philadelphia. Quite a few were impressed and expressed interest in applying to LaSalle.
The Pennsylvania Society for Biomedical Research (PSBR) joined us to offer an elective class and provided amazing opportunities for students to explore careers in life science. Many topics catered to student career interests, including cancer research and marine biology. The activities included a trip to Fox Chase Cancer Center to explore cutting-edge ideas in cancer prevention and treatment and practice laboratory techniques used to discover the development of cancer cells.
Partners from Einstein Medical Center helped healthcare interns get a little closer to the “real deal” clinical work of healthcare professionals by inviting students to an afternoon of learning in the medical school’s simulation lab.
Students in the Mural Arts elective created three exceptional murals. They conceived ideas, worked with the artist to utilize software to modify drafts they created, and turned imagination and thoughtful consideration of the Building 21 vision into three large art pieces that now adorn our entryway ceiling and walls.
The 2022-2023 School Year.
We are close to the end of our first semester, and our Pathways program is in full swing. This fall, we have 39 students earning college credits through dual enrollment. Our 11th-grade students have begun the preparation process for internships, and small groups have met virtually with experts in their fields of interest. Seniors working on their capstone projects participated in a service launch, with students leading the way in a neighborhood clean-up and others assisting in nearby elementary and middle schools.
Stay tuned for Pathways updates as the year progresses!