The Makings of a Pathway District

What Does It Mean To Be A Woz ED Pathway School or District?

Woz ED provides STEM kits and curriculum to many schools nationwide, but there are schools and organizations that have gained what the Woz ED team refers to as “pathway status.” These are schools and districts that showcase exemplary teaching and learning in STEM Education and work to prepare their students for future careers in technology.

To earn this status, schools must meet specific criteria. This includes: having at least one dedicated STEM teacher, a STEM-based class for each student, a 1:3 device to student ratio, and a dedicated room on campus for the use of Woz ED kits such as robotics or drone building. Additionally, they must offer at least  five career pathways for students to explore. When all schools within a district meet these standards, they are considered pathway districts.

There are currently 10 Woz ED pathway districts, 15 pathway schools, and one pathway organization. This is just the beginning of a journey to reshape the way we approach K-12 education through embracing an ever-changing world.

Big, Small, and Everything in Between

Woz ED serves schools and districts of all sizes and types. There are pathway schools that are made up of 500 students in tiny, farming towns and there are districts that span multiple schools in large urban areas.

Take Albertville School District, which gained pathway status this year. Albertville is a small, rural town with about 22,000 residents. There are 6 public schools total, all of which are now implementing Woz ED curriculum.

On the other hand, there are districts like Duval County School District in Jacksonville, Florida. This district has roughly 150 K-12 schools and a student body seven times as large as the total population of Albertville. Although scaling can be challenging in such a widespread district, Duval has about 15 schools that have fully implemented Woz ED curriculum.

Buffalo County School District

Buffalo County School District in New York has recently become the first large urban pathway district using Woz ED. This district serves 30,000 students and is committed to providing STEM opportunities for each of their K-12 students. They are the first large urban district to fully embrace the use of Woz ED career pathway curriculum and STEM kits within all 38 schools.

Dr. Tonja Williams leads the mission to “move on to the next level” by keeping students engaged, focusing on the community, and ensuring that every child has the opportunity to succeed in their chosen career path. With a keen understanding of the future job market, Williams and her team of educators, including Kelly Baudo and Rob Harris, have prioritized helping students develop an engineering mindset with Woz ED’s new STEM curriculum. Buffalo also maintains an unwavering commitment to equity that ensures that every student, regardless of race or gender, has an equal opportunity to learn and thrive.

The Buffalo district is focused on career pathways such as Animation, Robotics, Mobile App Development, Drones, and Engineering Design. The district’s dedication to STEM education and career readiness provides students with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st-century workforce.

No Easy Task

It takes a massive collaborative effort to become a pathway district, especially if you are a district made up of 38 schools, countless departments, and 30,000 K-12 aged students. Once curriculum and resources are purchased from Woz ED, schools must then consider what plan of action to take in order to implement these resources and meet their goals of career readiness, developmental milestones, and more. On the district level, this takes patience, long trial and error periods, and communication across departments.

There are many stakeholders within the educational sector. There are school boards, government officials, community members, administrators, teachers, and funding agencies. Each play an important role in the allocation of resources, the functionality of the system, and the success of the students. With other types of business, there are usually only two to three main stakeholders in a given arrangement. Add a few more into the mix and things start to get complicated.

Implementing an entirely new learning system, no matter how passionate you are about making it happen, is no easy task. The silver lining behind the hard work and countless hours of learning, growing, and experimenting is that STEM education has proven to have positive benefits across the board. Students are more engaged and consistently learning, teachers are growing and expanding skill sets, communities are flourishing.

The simplicity, efficiency, and holistic approach of the Woz ED pathway system is what makes it work, along with the tireless effort of teachers and administrators at each pathway school and in each pathway district.


Published: March 15, 2023


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