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When the Classroom Doesn’t Cut It

We've told you previously about Pathways In Education, and how their programs are tailored to fit the needs of any high schooler looking to recover course credit from falling behind, or who would like to get ahead and possibly graduate early. We recently dove a little deeper, though, and discovered more ways that Pathways In Education can help teenagers complete their education, and learn more than just how to pass exams.

Pathways has several programs to choose from, but one that really stuck out to us was their partnership with Blackbird Farm. Through Pathways' Experiential Learning Program, students travel to Boonville, California, and get to learn firsthand about environmentalism, personal growth and community involvement through various student programs. 

Blackbird Farm is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating youth and adults about sustainable living, farming and healthy eating. Located on 240 acres, Blackbird Farm is a beautiful place where participants are directly connected to the land around them promoting personal and social change.  


We got down to the nitty-gritty and found out exactly why this program is so successful, and how it has helped students reach their full potential when classical classroom learning wasn't the right fit.

How many students participated in this latest trip in September 2016?

19 students total: 7 boys and 12 girls. 9 from the Frayser campus and 10 from the Whitehaven campus.

What specific projects or activities did the students participate in?

The students participated in a large number of activities over the duration of the trip. They learned about organic gardening, self-sustainability, animal husbandry, seed-to-plate preparation, expressive art, career development, food inequality, and an introduction to construction with a safety lesson. They also had the opportunity to participate in a high ropes courses, cooking, and daily hiking!


What were the student reactions to the trip, to the farm, or to the activities?

Many students had never experienced anything like this before! This was a new life experience for all of us. Some students initially struggled with not having some of their supports and resources that they have at home. Some also struggled with not having their phones for the entire trip. They were challenged to identify and understand their role in our world and what responsibilities they have to themselves, their community, and their planet. Every day was packed with activities from 7:30 AM until 9:30 PM. They were always engaged in various activities and were on their feet a majority of the day. They thoroughly enjoyed the hands-on activities like construction, food preparation, and animal husbandry. They did an excellent job soaking up the entire experience and representing Memphis properly. We were very proud of our students.

What life lessons did Pathways students learn from this experience? Do you think they may have gained any new perspectives?

They learned a great deal about sustainable agriculture and that was a new concept to most of the students. They also reflected on what they were passionate about and how they can transform their passions into careers. They were also exposed to a number of activities and career opportunities so that they could discover what they may enjoy doing. They also learned to fully trust their peers and the staff throughout a number of activities.

To your knowledge, what was the students’ favorite part of the trip?

I believe the students would say that the high ropes course activities were their favorite. Many of them also really enjoyed our hikes that we went on, particularly the night hike.


Interested in Pathways In Education, and what they have to offer? Check them out online {here}, and learn of what we love about them {here}!

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This post is sponsored by Pathways In Education.