June 2004 marks the one-year inception of the Commonwealth's Alternate Pathways to Success initiative. As policymakers and education leaders consider the effectiveness of Massachusetts' pathways policy and next steps in its continued development, they must evaluate the extent to which its original goal was accomplished - creating a safety net to support all students to mastery. The Commonwealth has made a good start at providing pathway supports but more must be done to strengthen and build a comprehensive pathways system. In this brief, we begin to identify ways in which this system requires improvement, including:
- More data on eligible students and an improved student tracking system;
- Better alignment of existing needs and available services;
- Better coordination of resources, programs and providers;
- Greater clarification of service provider roles and responsibilities;
- More program evaluation and focus on providing equitable access to pathway options; and
- Better communication, especially to students and the counselors who advise them.