Pathways Middle College High School is a small school of 100 students tucked away on the third floor of the Main building at OCCC.
Because Pathways is so hidden, many people have never heard about it.
“I heard about it from my middle school counselor,” junior Ivan Flores said. “She said that she sees high hopes in me of graduating from high school and going to college. She referred me to this school.”
Principal Carol Brogan has been at Pathways for about 12 years. She said she started working at Pathways when it had been open only a few months.
Pathways School opened in January 2001, and Brogan became the principal in August of 2001.
“It is a small enough environment to know each student, but it’s large enough to offer them the things that they need for graduation and to help them get into college,” she said.
Not only do the students at Pathways take difficult high school classes, but many of them even take college classes when they are done with all the requirements Pathways has set for them to graduate high school.
Pathways senior Jennifer Argueta said she is challenged by high expectations.
“I like it better here than my last school, because the teachers are more driven.”
Brogan noted that of 34 juniors and seniors last spring, 23 were taking college courses. Out of those 23 students taking college courses, 10 were taking 12 or more college hours.
In fact, access to college coursework is one of the reasons students apply to Pathways.
Because Pathways is noticeably smaller than most schools, the teachers are able to help their students on an individual basis.
Pathways senior Dalia Diaz appreciates that.
“If I need one-on-one, they’re willing to help me,” she said.
There are a few disadvantages to attending Pathways instead of a larger traditional high school, Brogan said. Because they have to cap at 100 students, this limits the number of classes they can offer.
Because they are not able to offer separate humanities classes, humanities is combined with the English classes.
Also, they don’t offer physical education classes or competitive sports.
On the positive side, getting college credit in high school is free for most students, Brogan said. Last year the State Regents for Higher Education picked up tuition and fees for six hours of college per semester for each senior. Then, Oklahoma City Public Schools paid the difference.
Brogan was proud to note that Pathways graduate Brianna Dick won the Gates Millennium Scholarship last spring. This is a huge honor, Brogan said, since there are only 1,000 of these scholarships given out in the U.S.
Brogan stressed that Pathways is a program that is here to serve kids who are eager to learn and be successful.