About Us

Future Pathways [FP] is a non-traditional education program that serves Des Moines Public School students who are at least 17 years old with at least 10 credits towards graduation. Since beginning in 2006, Future Pathways has served over 2,000 students and over 600 graduates.

Students who attend the FP program remain a student of their designated school and will earn that school’s diploma upon graduation. Interested students and families will work with their school’s contact to be referred to FP.

The Future Pathways Learning Process [FPLP]

The Future Pathways Learning Process is a mix of current educational research and practices. Students visit with their teachers to design projects using ideas from multiple courses that promote deep understanding, honor their interests and are relevant to their lives.  The learning process here at FP  is very different  from what most students have experienced.

The ACME Program

When students come to Future Pathways, they spend about a month in Future Pathways’ Accelerated Curriculum Model of Expectations program (ACME) . The ACME program follows a project based learning model with the incorporation of small and large group instruction. Students are required to complete two presentations to complete the program.   To promote success at Future Pathways and graduation, students’ time in ACME is structured with three hours of required attendance each day. At the completion of ACME students will earn two to three credits toward graduation.

In the ACME program, students are part of a group that fosters a positive peer relationship and support for course completion and graduation. Upon successful completion, the group of students will work with a team of teachers and follow the Future Pathways Learning Process (FPLP) model.

The Project Based Learning Classroom

At Future Pathways, students work with a team of four core teachers. This team not only works on academics with the student, but also monitors attendance and progress towards graduation. The team meets regularly to discuss all of the students they work with and make frequent contacts to family members about their students’ work.  The move for Future Pathways to a team concept is resulting in a better experience for our students and their families.

Students earn credit in coursework by completing projects. Because we value engagement in authentic learning experiences, students will not find textbooks, worksheets, or most other traditional teaching tools.  A student’s project may be unique and planned collaboratively with the teachers; however, students may choose to complete pre-designed projects that their teachers have prepared for their courses.  A typical project evolves throughout several stages: identifying essential questions, conducting research, having in-depth conversations with teachers, and will likely involve revisions of their work. This process typically concludes with a formal or informal presentation of their project.

Students will also have opportunities to earn credit through regular Special Sessions.  These are structured, compressed, and  include at least two classes where 100% attendance is required for completion.  In addition, online learning is used for math and other occasions where it best meets student needs.