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Chelmsford High School Receives Innovation Pathways Planning Grant

CHELMSFORD, MA (Nov. 10, 2020) – Chelmsford High School received the 2020-21 Innovation Pathways Planning Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Superintendent Jay Lang announced recently.

Created by DESE, Innovative Pathways are designed to give students coursework and experience in specific high-demand industries such as information technology, engineering, healthcare, life sciences, business and finance, and advanced manufacturing.

Additionally, Innovation Pathways are designed to create strong partnerships with local employers to expose students to career options and help them develop knowledge and skills related to their chosen field of study before graduating high school.

“We are honored to receive the Innovation Pathways grant,” said Dr. Lang. “This grant is a testament to the tremendous effort of our Development Team. Through Innovation Pathways, we feel our students will graduate with an optimal sense of a career and civic direction.”

Spearheaded by CHS educators Stephanie Quinn, K-12 Social Studies Coordinator; Jon Morris, K-12 Science Coordinator; and Dr. Bobby Lyons, Emerson House Dean, the $22,400 grant will fund research over the next year to determine and implement the best coursework to support an Innovation Pathways program at CHS.

“This year is all about the planning to design a well-functioning program for our students,” said Ms. Quinn. “Once we have gone through this process, developing further opportunities for other pathways will be that much easier.”

CHS will offer Innovation Pathways in the fields of Information Technology and Business/Finance.

“We have many classes that relate to all the Pathways,” said Ms. Quinn. “We specifically looked at Information Technology and Business/Finance because a lot of the pieces are already in place. Our students can learn about these pathways as early as middle school, and it will enable them to figure out what they may want to pursue.”

While CHS students have recently been able to earn college credit through a dual enrollment program with Middlesex Community College, Innovative Pathways will include added coursework for students to continue to do so. Additionally, it will provide students opportunities through internships with local businesses and capstone courses (semester-long research projects) in their chosen field.

“There has always been a push for schools to enable students to be college-ready,” said Mr. Morris. “Innovation Pathways enables students for college, career and civic-readiness. CHS students will receive a focused, result-oriented path into and beyond high school.”

CHS currently has partnerships with Worker’s Credit Union of Chelmsford as well as MassHire of Lowell, and is currently seeking partnerships with Merrimack Valley-based businesses to offer internships for its students, consistent with the Innovation Pathways project.

Ms. Quinn said she hopes to see the program implemented as early as next year. “This is our planning year,” she said. “We are hoping to begin programming next year with students enrolling in the Pathways.”

Businesses interested in partnerships for internship opportunities with CHS students can contact Ms. Quinn at quinns@chelmsford.k12/ma.us or Mr. Morris at morrisj@chelmsford.k12.ma.us.

For more information about Innovation Pathways, visit https://www.doe.mass.edu/ccte/innovation-pathways/.