Clayton Valley Charter’s pathway applications completed


Conner Emery, Clayton Valley Charter High School

A mural on the side of the Clayton Valley Charter High School library depicts potential futures for students.

Conner Emery, Clayton Valley Charter High School

Clayton Valley Charter High School has accomplished several milestones to reestablish the normalcy of in-person learning. This spring it reached another with the completion of the annual academic pathways application process. 

Upwards of 2,300 students currently attend Clayton Valley Charter, and 990 belong to a pathway. The pathways are learning programs organized in academies intended to align with specific student interests. They are the Public Service Academy (PSA), Clayton Arts Academy (CAA), Engineering and Design Academy (EDA), Medical Careers Academy (MCA), and Digital Arts and Technology Academy (DATA). 

Beginning in January, incoming freshmen and returning students applied for one or more of the academies. In February, they learned if they got accepted, and now in March they face the ultimate decision of deciding which to join. 

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Dylan Perreira, lead teacher for PSA. “We get our first glimpse of the students.”

“It’s almost like the first day of coaching,” said Anthony Munch, a CAA teacher, describing the process. “Like, we’ll work on this, and this will be a growth area.” 

Students commonly join the pathways their freshman year.  If a student is rejected one year,  wishes to join later, or outright intends to switch, they are free to do so. 

Junior Derek Tizon, for example, joined MCA his sophomore year, citing the enthusiasm of his friends who joined in their freshman year. “They all talked about how fun it was,” he said. 

The purpose of pursuing a pathway is to help the student think about their future. “It expands learning into areas that students might choose for a career,” said Richard Prizznick, MCA lead teacher. 

DATA lead teacher Anthony Anderson said, “We’re even looking for success beyond four years.” 

The panels that interview the students can include a pathway academy’s lead teacher, other academy teachers, administrators, and even current academy students. They come together to evaluate applicants and determine their viability for membership, which begins the next academic year. 

Hailey Pica, a junior in EDA since her freshman year, recalled that she was nervous about the application.  “It didn’t help that I really didn’t know anyone else doing it,” she said. But she viewed the interviews as “pretty pain free.”

“You just have to be patient and then you can settle in,” said John Ouimet, EDA lead teacher. “You get to know people very fast.”

The Clayton Arts Academy was the first of the pathways, introduced in 1998. CAA lead teacher Elizabeth Abbott, said it’s “almost like a family.”

This article was originally written for The Talon, the student news site of Clayton Valley Charter High School in Concord.