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Pathway Connection

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Pathway Connection is a companion program to the existing Pathway to the Baccalaureate program. Pathway Connection is a pilot college/career readiness program for high school sophomores and juniors in selected high schools in Fairfax County (FCPS) and Arlington County (APS). The Pathway Connection program uses the same student-centered model as the highly successful Pathway to the Baccalaureate to help students to improve college readiness and foster early remediation of lagging academic skills and barriers. The goal of Pathway Connection is to reduce the number of at-risk students enrolling in college who need remediation by 50%.

The key to Pathway’s success is its one-stop, case management model, which builds an ongoing relationship between students and their counselors, faculty members and peers across educational institutions to sustain students throughout their high school and college experiences. Critical support is offered to participating students each step along the way.

College Readiness


Our program interventions include:

  • An in-depth intake assessment to identify specific lagging academic skills and informational and navigational barriers.
  • Development of an individualized plan to address deficiencies and barriers using existing resources.
  • Partnerships with academic and student services to develop supplemental remediation resources.
  • A case management approach that tracks participation to ensure ongoing progress in remediation.
  • Parental engagement through our “Parent Connections” workshop series.
  • The Pathway Connection Summer Institute, hosted on-campus at NOVA, for rising high school juniors and seniors.

The Pathway Connection program also provides a series of free college access and planning workshops for PK-11 students and their families at area elementary and middle schools, and at non-profit, community- and faith-based organizations across Fairfax and Arlington County. Our college readiness efforts also include roundtable discussions where high school and college faculty meet to discuss college readiness issues and curricular alignment, to ensure that high school instruction is preparing students for success in college-level work.


Who is Eligible?

Pathway Connection is designed to support students who demonstrate lagging academic skills based on their cumulative GPA or 8th Grade SOL scores, or other standardized assessment scores. Eligible students are notified by their high school and invited to participate in an information session and must complete a program application form, student contract to participate and must abide by the program participation requirements as outlined in the contract to remain in the program.

Pathway Connection participants who satisfy program requirements are eligible to receive guaranteed admission into the Pathway to the Baccalaureate Program in the senior year of high school. Participation in Pathway to the Baccalaureate is not required, with some Pathway Connection students pursuing four-year college admission or alternative post-secondary plans.

How it Works?

Preliminary results from the Pathway Connection pilot are overwhelmingly positive, and the program is on track to meet its ambitious goal of reducing developmental placement among participating students by 50 percent when compared to at-risk peers who did not receive early college readiness support. Other preliminary results include:

  • Earlier awareness of post-secondary academic options, expectations and college majors.
  • Increased student engagement and use of school resources.
  • Higher level of engagement in college-level course work while in high school.

For a detailed description of the Pathway to the Baccalaureate program, visit the Information Center.