Career Path High: Career & College Ready Flex

A high school inside Davis Applied Technology Center (DATC), Career Path High, will open in September. The flexible blended 9-12 program will prepare students for an upper division program that includes access to 30 job certificate programs.
Twenty minutes north of downtown Salt Lake, Davis County is a big suburb with the state’s largest school district.  DATC is one of 8 technical colleges in Utah with a job placement rate of 88% in careers ranging from manufacturing, health care, transportation, and IT.
IMG_0993 copyCareer Path High (CPH) will open with up to 175 students in classrooms on the DATC campus.  The school could grow to as many as 500 students in year four.  DATC is not only the career education partner and landlord, they are the charter authorizer–one of two institutions that have taken advantage of a 2010 law extending authorizing privileges to higher education.
All Utah high school juniors and seniors are required to be immersed in a career tech program.  The technical colleges are free to high school students but compete with district CTE programs. Career PathHigh will offer students a chance to earn a high school diploma and technical certificate–graduates will probably have job offers and be prepared for further education. DATC certificates will transfer up to 30 hours of credit at Weber State.
Like all the programs at DATC, CPH will be a competency-based. Students will move at their own pace and time on campus will be flexible. CPH will use Education Elements to track progress. They haven’t finished selecting instructional materials.
DATC facilities are impressive. Volvo/Mack keep the diesel repair bays full of the latest truck models. Manufacturing equipment vendors provide the newest machines and run their own training programs onsite.  Local hospitals and dentists help equip the health tech classrooms and provide extensive onsite experience. The campus is a playground of applied learning.
Board chair Robyn Bagley helped launch two virtual schools in Utah.  She championed improved access to online and blended education.  After our Data Backpack paper  she championed a data backpack bill in Utah that ensures that a gradebook of data follows a student from school to school allowing teachers to personalize learning from day one.
CPH is an interesting applied extension of Utah’s Early College High School Initiative.  It sits next door (and in contrast) to a big traditional high school with the motto “Defend the Tradition.”  CPH may help create a new tradition of blending high school and college, blending online and onsite learning, and blending school and work-based learning.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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