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When IGNITE Pathways leaders sat down with area business partners to discuss what a first-of-its-kind, hands on education program might look like, ideas and suggestions were offered freely. Knowing that these great ideas needed to be recorded, someone grabbed a pen and a napkin, and the rest is history.
“We knew we wanted to do something transformational,” remarked Superintendent Justin Wagner, “We didn’t want to just change the carpet and slap a new coat of paint on an old vocational delivery model.”
Visionary thinking, strategic business partnerships, state-of-the-art facilities, and industry-leading professionals converge to provide an educational model that is the first-of-its-kind in the state and, quite possibly, the first in the Midwest.
IGNITE students earn core credits (reading, math, science and social studies) in their career and technical education coursework. They gain technical and workplace readiness skills in the field to make them employable, regardless of the field of study they choose to pursue.
Perhaps most important, they graduate high school, not only with a diploma, but also with in-demand job skills, college credits, certifications, and/or apprenticeships for a bright future.
CAREER EDUCATION DOES NOT GET ANY MORE REAL THAN IGNITE'S WORK-BASED LEARNING AND APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS
Class sizes have a low student-teacher ratio (10:1 or fewer) to provide each student with a unique, personalized education experience. Students grow in their abilities to communicate, take initiative, accept responsibility, understand discipline, and act with accountability.
IGNITE opened with a pilot program in January 2021 and expanded to four career pathways and twelve programs of study in August of the same year. Additional programs of study were added in January 2022, with plans to add several new programs of study in August 2022.
In August 2022, high school freshmen and sophomores who wish to jumpstart their career pathways will also gain access to IGNITE programs.
To support this growth, IGNITE 3, a 45,000 sq foot, two-story, three-level building, will begin construction in Spring 2022.
Designed for continued expansion of IGNITE programs, together with a business incubator space and community resources, IGNITE 3 will be open for classes in Fall 2023.