PUSD once again shines in the Pathways spotlight

California State Superintendent of Instruction Tom Torlakson was genuinely impressed as he toured Harmony Magnet Academy Friday, and he should have been impressed.
Porterville Unified School District continues to receive high praise for not only Harmony Magnet Academy, but its entire Pathways Program throughout the district. The state schools chief’s visit Friday was one of several where the district has hosted others who wanted to see first hand what is being done locally. And, Mr. Torlakson is not the last. In a few weeks a contingent from Washington, D.C., is expected to visit.
The state superintendent visited several classrooms and engaged several students. He even tried his hand at a few of the many fascinating projects being undertaken in the classrooms at HMA. He smiled, asked questions and kept repeating how impressed he was not only with what was being taught, but the response from students and the enthusiasm the instructors displayed.
PUSD’s Pathways program is also known as Linked Learning where students are connected to the real world. Each of the nine Pathways offered — from health to ag and performing arts — are connected to the community by volunteer advisory boards made up of community members.
PUSD has been so successful that a consortium of school districts in Tulare and Kings counties, led by PUSD, was awarded a huge grant to get Pathways started at several more high schools. PUSD was selected because it basically has written the book on Linked Learning and now it is sharing its knowledge with other schools.
We were impressed by the superintendent’s visit and how engaged he seemed to be. This was not a politician looking for a photo opportunity, but an educator seeking knowledge about a school district and a program that is proving very valuable.