CityPathways Sample Youth Trajectories


Use Case #1: CityPathways Cohort


Jayson, Jamal, and Xavier participated in a Groundswell Teen Empowerment Mural Apprenticeship for their first CityPathways (cPaths) cycle of learning in the fall.  They were selected for this apprenticeship based on their Thrively strengths profiles, each for slightly different reasons. Their C.I.T.Y. Coach, Abraham, thought they would be a complementary cohort and a good “posse” to support one another as they mixed with trios from a few other middle schools around the city.  All four (students and coach) have indeed had favorable experiences, although according to Jamal, “it was a LOT more work than I expected.”  Their mural “Kaleidoscope Dream” honors the new industries and accompanying workforce that have revitalized the Brooklyn Navy Yard including film, green manufacturing, farming, fashion, fine art, and small business.  

As the learning cycle culminates, Coach Abraham pores over the students’ competency based learning plans and extends his weekly coaching sessions, which take place at school on Thursday afternoon when he’s not off-site with the cohort at Groundswell, enabling each to have more time to talk through what they learned and implications for matching with their next cPaths cycle.

Jayson really loved the process of interviewing community stakeholders about what the neighborhood used to be like, and how they’d like to see the neighborhood evolve.  His close listening skills, hearing subtle commonalities in community stakeholders whose professional and personal lives seemed so different on the surface, led the group to decide to create a ‘kaleidoscope’ in which the symbols in one image are found in the next one, representing different stakeholders merging and supporting each other to create a dynamic and interdependent community.  He hadn’t previously realized how interested he was in history and research, since it always seemed so boring in class!  Through looking at Jayson’s Personal Learning Plan, his history teacher Ms Thrush realizes that enabling Jayson to do more oral history work, and providing him with some supplementary texts like Studs Terkel’s Working and a biography of Paul Robeson during their unit on post-WW2, will increase Jayson’s engagement and achievement.  Coach Abraham recommends that Jayson do his next learning cycle with South Bronx Rising Together, a new coalition of program providers and community members working together to knock down the barriers to educational and economic success through wrap around programming.  Jayson had never heard of Rising Together and is thrilled to engage with it, especially after hearing about the summer internship he’ll be eligible for.  

Jamal loved the process of painting and the preparation for the painting, thinking about composition, symbolism, scale, color.  He knew he liked images, and graphic novels, but he never actually created something before and is totally exhilarated by the tangibility of it, and the process of moving from idea to implementation to outcome (the mural.) He’ll be moving on to a learning cycle with NYC Salt pursuing digital photography, and Coach Abraham talks with him about to deepening his engagement with composition through it.  Jamal knows that he struggles with attention and with heeding details.  Coach Abraham thinks that the hands-on nature of the Salt learning cycle, and Jamal’s newfound absorption with the composition of the world around him will help him to be successful with Salt (and of course Abraham will work to keep Jamal on track.)

Xavier was perhaps the most begrudging member of the trio.  He had originally been interested in the Wildlife Conservation Society cPaths cycle and was disappointed not to be assigned to it AND to hear that he’d be working as part of a group for much of his apprenticeship time with Groundswell.  Xavier tends to dislike groupwork in class and feared this would be more of the same, but was delighted to discover that he LOVED working with other students to create something beautiful and powerful that didn’t previously exist.   Xavier confided to Coach Abraham that for the first time, he’s felt like he’s part of something, and something bigger than himself.  Normally shy, Xavier found his voice through his paintbrush, unleashing his self-expression while working on neighborhood transformation. Although Xavier hasn’t mentioned it explicitly in his coaching session, his reflection in his Personal Learning Plan noted how much he valued the political activism of the project.  Coach Abraham has recommended that Xavier’s next learning cycle be with Urban Word, anticipating that Xavier will like being part of an ensemble and will benefit from exploring another form of self-expression that will provide him with more experience writing and performing. 

Coach Abraham is really excited about the experiences these three students, as well as the other trios of students he coaches, have had during this CityPathways learning cycle.  They questioned what they were doing at some points, and struggled at some points, but all of them persevered and were pleased with the process and the product.  Abraham feels pretty confident that the students’ placements for the second cycle will be positive and he’s making good strides arranging their summer internships.  He takes great satisfaction in the growth he’s already seen in the students, and the valuable dividends he’s seeing and hearing about in their classwork during the traditional school day as a result of the stimulation, the success they’re experiencing, and the impact on their senses of themselves and their possibilities


Use Case #2: Sharon

Cherise is an 8th grade student at an arts-focused middle school in Brooklyn.   On Mondays, she participates in a popular after school club called “Rap City and Blues,” offered by the music teacher (who has long moonlighted as a rap lyricist), which reinforces Common Core-based learning through helping students analyze music and nonfiction texts in order to create and perform their own riffs and garner both a Critical Thinking and a Creation Badge.  

On Wednesdays, Cherise heads to the Mark Morris Center with a cohort of fellow students for African Drumming and Modern Dance classes.  Although the Center is just half a mile from her home, she’d never been there before.  By being part of cPaths, supervised transportation is provided so that she has become comfortable traveling to new areas.  She loves her classes so much that now she’s started coming independently on Saturdays too, and is preparing for a spring recital after which she hopes to earn an Advanced Creation and a Courage Badge.  

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Cherise takes an after school class with her Humanities Teacher Ms H, who has parlayed her finesse for motivating students into “Get Up and Go,” a cPaths-designed course which helps students identify their interests and talents, identify careers that draw upon them, and participate in Classroom Inc. simulations and projects that help them gain further insight into the field.  The course is complemented by field trips that tap into various students' interests and when students are ready, might even lead to apprenticeships.  Ms H is energized by being able to share her passions with students in a way she hasn’t had time for within her humanities classes, and her increased understanding of, and relationship with, her students enhances her efficacy during the regular school day.  

Through these experiences, Cherise has identified an interest in a potential career in Arts Administration--something she had never heard of prior to cPaths--and is working towards a Content Knowledge and a Career Exploration Badge.  Ms H is helping her identify high schools that seem likely to support this interest and in communicating her choices to her parents and the guidance counselor.  If Cherise continues along this pathway, as she levels up, she’ll do internships in a few arts organizations (including Mark Morris) during high school and get support in identifying college, scholarship, and career opportunities.