Upper School (9-12+)

Tailored programs and opportunities for students ages 14-22

The Pathway School’s Upper School program (USP) takes a proactive and individualized approach to serve the academic, social, and transitional needs of young adults with special needs ages 14 to 22.

The Curriculum

The Pathway School’s Upper School program has a unique approach to special education that combines the Pennsylvania common core, English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Health and Physical Education, Arts and Humanities, STEM activities and Technical Education state standards by adapting content and presentation that meets the student’s academic goals.

STEM Education

All students at The Pathway School have access to our Innovation Center supporting our STEM programming. We also provide immersive technology that enables all students to utilize netbooks, tablets, “smart” interactive whiteboards, and online programs that support our in-class curriculum.

In our Upper School, students use STEM programs to explore their passions, goals, and potential future careers. We encourage our students to get involved in our Beats by Girls, robotics, our morning school broadcast “Pathway Today”, engineering and vocational-technical (Vo-Tech) class, Esports, and other STEM activities that Pathway offers. Our individualized and evidence-based curriculum provides our upper school students the opportunity and freedom to use “Design Thinking” to empathize, problem solve, create and learn new skills.

Classroom Environment

Within a small classroom setting, the teacher and teacher assistant(s) focus on opportunities to implement and practice active learning skills and social awareness, using a research-based social skills curriculum. Individualized instruction and flexible instructional pacing are incorporated into classroom instruction to address student learning. This specialized attention ensures that the student’s educational and behavioral needs are being supported.

Life Skills Program

A subdivision of our Upper School program is our Transitional Living program (TLP). This program’s courses are for students who require an emphasis on life-skills necessary for transitioning to adult living. At Pathway, we identify the students’ needs and meet them where they are now, while providing them with the tools to grow and succeed in their lives beyond Pathway. Our TLP provides that and more for our students.

Students in TLP are offered core curriculum classes such as English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Art, Music, Drama, and STEM activities with the addition of career training, community integration, travel training, socialization techniques, decision-making and daily-living routines. For our students, real-world experiences are key to their success.

The TLP students practice and generalize learned skills in the natural setting where these skills are expected to occur. Receiving a recipe, going to the grocery store, purchasing the food items needed, following a recipe to make the meal, eating the meal, and cleaning-up after the meal is an example of a real-world activity students in TLP may be exposed to. Students have the opportunity to follow their daily-life routines set in place, but also gain experience and knowledge when a routine shifts or it does not go as planned. Experiences in learning cooking processes, public transportation schedules and traveling, money management, career opportunities and expectations, personal care, and daily living activities will occur in this program.

Integrated Services

The Pathway School offers integrated clinical, behavioral, and related services such as speech and occupational therapy as part of individualized academic programming, as needed.

Creative Expression

Pathway’s Upper School students who enjoy art and design, theatre arts, horticulture, and music are encouraged to utilize our fine arts programs at Pathway. These programs build teamwork, self-awareness, confidence, and more.

Currently, our Theatre Arts Program is proud to collaborate with Hedgerow Theatre Company in Delaware County.

Preparing for the Future

The emphasis on social awareness is especially important in the Upper School, as our students begin to prepare for independence after graduating from Pathway. This includes taking a Senior Seminar Class as a part of our Transitional Services when a student is preparing to graduate from Pathway. This class educates the students on career exploration, creating resumes, preparing for interviews, filling out job applications, self-advocacy, and more. Pathway also has a Career Education Program that helps students receive job training to enhance their social and employability skills, first through an on-campus job and then with local businesses, using the support of Pathway job coaches, as needed.

Additional educational opportunities within the Upper School include the “Bridge to College” program. This allows options for dual enrollment at Montgomery Community College for eligible students. At Pathway, all of our students take their own path tailored to their goals, needs, and future aspirations.


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Learn about Our Approach

Pathway’s unique holistic approach to education focuses on the student’s abilities and needs so that targeted instruction and support is provided to them!