Curriculum & Courses
Individualized curriculum choices
Pathways Academy Charter School Adult Education offers a robust course catalog with book, packet based, and online choices for almost all courses. Students can choose their program (blended or online) based on how they best like to complete courses. All courses meet California State Standards and are mastery based. Highly qualified, credentialed teachers support students in the completion of required courses and provide support through weekly feedback, one-on-one support, and instance course feedback (for online courses only).
History / Social Science
Providing students with the opportunity to learn about the historical events, philosophers, and topical issues that helped create the democratic foundations of this nation, Government is an engaging one-semester course that will introduce high school students to the Founding Fathers and expose them to the ideas that shaped the nation. Students will identify important political leaders and trace the development and organization of federal, state, and local government. In addition, students will explain the political process and analyze the United States’ role as a global, political, and economic participant. The course specifically targets the philosophies and foundations of the United States government, the organization of the branches of government, government on a state and local level, and civil liberties and laws. Full of timely and interesting content, this course will inspire students to be more informed citizens and equip them to understand how the United States compares economically and politically on a global scale. Honors available.
*denotes semester long course
Examining current global issues that impact our world today, this course takes a thematic approach to understanding the development of human systems, human understanding of the world, and human social organization. Divided into two semesters, this high school-level course will challenge students to develop geographic skills, including learning to interpret maps, analyze data, and compare theories. Offering interactive content that will grow students’ understanding of the development of modern civilization and human systems—from the agricultural revolution to the technological revolution—this course encourages students to analyze economic trends as well as compare global markets and urban environments.
*denotes semester long course
This one-year high school course presents a cohesive and comprehensive overview of the history of the United States, surveying the major events and turning points of U.S. history as it moves from the Era of Exploration through modern times. As students examine each era of history, they will analyze primary sources and carefully research events to gain a clearer understanding of the factors that have shaped U.S. history. In early units, students will assess the foundations of U.S. democracy while examining crucial documents. In later units, students will examine the effects of territorial expansion, the Civil War, and the rise of industrialization as they assess the outcomes of economic trends and the connections between culture and government. As the course draws to a close, students will focus their studies on the causes of cultural and political change in the modern age. Throughout the course, students will learn the importance of cultural diversity while examining history from different perspectives. Honors available.
Beginning with topics from prehistory and culminating in the events of the 21st century, World History provides interactive course content that will challenge high school students to learn about the political, economic, and social aspects of world history. This highly engaging, two-semester course encourages students to explore the major revolutions and social movements that have influenced different nations and eventually spread throughout the world. During this course, students will be exposed to a variety of pressing issues that have created opportunities for both conflict and cooperation in the modern world. Honors available.
This freshman-year English course engages students in literary analysis and inferential evaluation of great texts both classic and contemporary. While critically reading fiction, poetry, drama, and literary nonfiction, students will master comprehension and literary-analysis strategies. Interwoven in the lessons across two semesters are activities that encourage students to strengthen their oral language skills and produce clear, coherent writing. Students will read a range of classic texts including Homer’s The Odyssey, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game.” They will also study short but complex texts, including influential speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan. Contemporary texts by Richard Preston, Julia Alvarez, and Maya Angelou round out the course. Honors available.
Focused on application, this sophomore English course reinforces literary analysis and twenty-first century skills with superb pieces of literature and literary nonfiction, application e-resources, and educational interactives. Each thematic unit focuses on specific literary analysis skills and allows students to apply them to a range of genres and text structures. As these units meld modeling and application, they also expand on training in media literacy, twenty- first century career skills, and the essentials of grammar and vocabulary. Under the guidance of the eWriting software, students also compose descriptive, persuasive, expository, literary analysis, research, narrative, and compare-contrast essays. Honors available.
This junior-year English course invites students to delve into American literature from early American Indian voices through contemporary works. Students will engage in literary analysis and inferential evaluation of great texts, the centerpieces of this course. While critically reading fiction, poetry, drama, and expository nonfiction, students will master the comprehension and literary analysis strategies that the Common Core State Standards require. Interwoven in the lessons across two semesters are tasks that encourage students to strengthen their oral language skills and produce creative, coherent writing. Students will read a range of short but complex texts, including works by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Martin Luther King, Jr., F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sandra Cisneros, Amy Tan, and Dave Eggers. Honors available.
This senior-level English course offers fascinating insight into British literary traditions spanning from Anglo-Saxon writing to the Modern Period. With interactive introductions and historical contexts, this full-year course connects philosophical, political, religious, ethical, and social influences of each time period to the works of many notable authors, including Chaucer, William Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth I, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Virginia Woolf. Adding an extra dimension to the British literary experience, this course also exposes students to world literature, including works from India, Europe, China, and Spain. Honors available.
Motivating students in grades nine through twelve to become more articulate and effective writers, this one-semester course offers hands-on experience writing personal reflections, definition essays, research essays, persuasive essays, informative essays, and literary analysis essays. Offering targeted lessons on reputable research, effective communication, solid grammar, and compelling style, this one-semester course utilizes the Six Traits of Effective Writing as an overarching framework. Students enrolled in this course develop the skills necessary to evaluate their own writing and articulate and apply writing and researching strategies. In addition, students get further practice applying the grammatical rules of standard American English in formal writing.
*denotes semester long course
This full-year course focuses on five critical areas: relationships between quantities and reasoning with equations, linear and exponential relationships, descriptive statistics, expressions and equations, and quadratic functions and modeling. This course builds on the foundation set in middle grades by deepening students’ understanding of linear and exponential functions and developing fluency in writing and solving one-variable equations and inequalities. Students will interpret, analyze, compare, and contrast functions that are represented numerically, tabularly, graphically, and algebraically. Quantitative reasoning is a common thread throughout the course as students use algebra to represent quantities and the relationships among those quantities in a variety of ways. Standards of mathematical practice and process are embedded throughout the course, as students make sense of problem situations, solve novel problems, reason abstractly, and think critically.
This course focuses on functions, polynomials, periodic phenomena, and collecting and analyzing data. The course begins with a review of linear and quadratic functions to solidify a foundation for learning these new functions. Students make connections between verbal, numeric, algebraic, and graphical representations of functions and apply this knowledge as they create equations and inequalities that can be used to model and solve mathematical and real-world problems. As students refine and expand their algebraic skills, they will draw analogies among the operations and field properties of real numbers and those of complex numbers and algebraic expressions. Mathematical practices and habits of mind are embedded throughout the course, as students solve novel problems, reason abstractly, and think critically.
This course begins with a brief exploration of radicals and polynomials before delving into quadratic expressions, equations, and functions, including a derivation of the quadratic formula. Students then embark on a deep study of the applications of probability and develop advanced reasoning skills with a study of similarity, congruence, and proofs of mathematical theorems. Students explore right triangles with an introduction to right triangle trigonometry before turning their attention into the geometry of circles and making informal arguments to derive formulas for the volumes of various solids.
This course formalizes and extends middle school mathematics, deepening students’ understanding of linear relationships. The course begins with a review of relationships between quantities, building from unit conversion to a study of expressions, equations, and inequalities. Students contrast linear and exponential relationships, including a study of sequences, as well as applications such as growth and decay. Students review one-, two-, and multi-step equations, formally reasoning about each step using properties of equality. Students extend this reasoning to systems of linear equations. Students use descriptive statistics to analyze data before turning their attention to transformations and the relationship between Algebra and Geometry on the coordinate plane.
With an emphasis on function families and their representations, Precalculus is a thoughtful introduction to advanced studies leading to calculus. The course briefly reviews linear equations, inequalities, and systems and moves purposefully into the study of functions. Students then discover the nature of graphs and deepen their understanding of polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions. Scaffolding rigorous content with clear instruction, the course leads students through an advanced study of trigonometric functions, matrices, and vectors. The course concludes with a short study of probability and statistics.
This course formalizes what students have learned about geometry in the middle grades with a focus on reasoning and making mathematical arguments. Mathematical reasoning is introduced with a study of triangle congruency, including exposure to formal proofs, and geometric constructions. Then students extend what they have learned to other essential triangle concepts, including similarity, right triangle trigonometry, and the Laws of Sines and Cosines. Moving on to other shapes, students justify and derive various formulas for circumference, area, and volume, as well as cross-sections of solids and rotations of two-dimensional objects. Students then make important connections between geometry and algebra, including special triangles, slopes of parallel and perpendicular lines, and parabolas in the coordinate plane, before delving into an in-depth investigation of the geometry of circles. The course closes with a study of set theory and probability, as students apply theoretical and experimental probability to make decisions informed by data analysis.
This compelling two-semester course engages students in the study of life and living organisms and examines biology and biochemistry in the real world. This is a yearlong course that encompasses traditional concepts in biology and encourages exploration of new discoveries in this field of science. The components include biochemistry, cell biology, cell processes, heredity and reproduction, the evolution of life, taxonomy, human body systems, and ecology. This course includes both hands-on wet labs and virtual lab options. Honors available, students must attend one in-person wet lab day per semester for a-g credit.
This rigorous full-year course engages students in the study of the composition, properties, changes, and interactions of matter. The course covers the basic concepts of chemistry and includes 18 virtual laboratory experiments that encourage higher-order thinking applications. The components of this course include chemistry and its methods, the composition and properties of matter, changes and interactions of matter, factors affecting the interactions of matter, electrochemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, nuclear chemistry, mathematical applications, and applications of chemistry in the real world. Honors available, students must attend one in-person wet lab day per semester for a-g credit.
This full-year course acquaints students with topics in classical and modern physics. The course emphasizes conceptual understanding of basic physics principles, including Newtonian mechanics, energy, thermodynamics, waves, electricity, magnetism, and nuclear and modern physics. Throughout the course, students solve mathematical problems, reason abstractly, and learn to think critically about the physical world. The course also includes interactive virtual labs and hands-on lab options, in which students ask questions and create hypotheses. Honors available, students must attend one in-person wet lab day per semester for a-g credit.
Environmental science is a captivating and rapidly expanding field, and this two-semester course offers compelling lessons that cover many different aspects of the field: ecology, the biosphere, land, forests and soil, water, energy and resources, and societies and policy. Through unique activities and material, high school students connect scientific theory and concepts to current, real-world dilemmas, providing them with opportunities for mastery in each of the segments throughout the semester.
Students enrolled in this dynamic course will explore the scope of Earth sciences, covering everything from basic structure and rock formation to the incredible and volatile forces that have shaped and changed our planet. As climate change and energy conservation become increasingly more prevalent in the national discourse, it will be important for students to understand the concepts and causes of our changing Earth. Earth Science is a two-semester course that will provide a solid foundation for understanding the physical characteristics that make the planet Earth unique and will examine how these characteristics differ among the planets of our solar system.
Language Other Than English
Students in high school begin their introduction to French with fundamental building blocks in four key areas of foreign language study: listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Each unit consists of an ongoing adventure story, a new vocabulary theme and grammar concept, numerous interactive games reinforcing vocabulary and grammar, reading and listening comprehension activities, speaking and writing activities, and multimedia cultural presentations covering major French-speaking areas in Europe and across the globe.
Students continue their introduction to French in this second-year, high school language course with review of fundamental building blocks in four key areas of foreign language study: listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Each unit consists of an ongoing adventure story, a new vocabulary theme and grammar concept, numerous interactive games reinforcing vocabulary and grammar, reading and listening comprehension activities, speaking and writing activities, cultural presentations covering major French- speaking areas across the globe, and assessments.
In this expanding engagement with French, high school students deepen their focus on four key skills in foreign language acquisition: listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. In addition, students read significant works of literature in French and respond orally or in writing to these works. Continuing the pattern and building on what students encountered in the first two years, each unit consists of a new vocabulary theme and grammar concept, numerous interactive games reinforcing vocabulary and grammar, reading and listening comprehension activities, speaking and writing activities, and multimedia cultural presentations covering major French-speaking areas in Europe and the Americas.
Students begin their introduction to high school Spanish with fundamental building blocks in four key areas of foreign language study: listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Each unit consists of an ongoing adventure story, a new vocabulary theme and grammar concept, numerous interactive games reinforcing vocabulary and grammar, reading and listening comprehension activities, speaking and writing activities, and multimedia cultural presentations covering major Spanish-speaking areas in Europe and the Americas.
High school students continue their introduction to Spanish with fundamental building blocks in four key areas of foreign language study: listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Each unit consists of an ongoing adventure story, a new vocabulary theme and grammar concept, numerous interactive games reinforcing vocabulary and grammar, reading and listening comprehension activities, speaking and writing activities, cultural presentations covering major Spanish-speaking areas in Europe and the Americas, and assessments.
In this expanding engagement with Spanish, high school students deepen their focus on four key skills in foreign language acquisition: listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. In addition, students read significant works of literature in Spanish, and respond orally or in writing to these works. Continuing the pattern, and building on what students encountered in the first two years, each unit consists of a new vocabulary theme and grammar concept, numerous interactive games reinforcing vocabulary and grammar, reading and listening comprehension activities, speaking and writing activities, and multimedia cultural presentations covering major Spanish-speaking areas in Europe and the Americas.
This course invites students to broaden their understanding of how economic concepts apply to their everyday lives—including microeconomic and macroeconomic theory and the characteristics of mixed-market economies, the role of government in a free- enterprise system and the global economy, and personal finance strategies. Throughout the course, students apply critical-thinking skills while making practical economic choices. Students also master literacy skills through rigorous reading and writing activities. Students analyze data displays and write routinely and responsively in tasks and assignments that are based on scenarios, texts, activities, and examples. In more extensive, process-based writing lessons, students write full-length essays in informative and argumentative formats. Honors available.
Beginning with an introduction that builds student understanding of the elements, principles, and characteristics of human communication, this course offers fascinating insight into verbal and nonverbal messages and cultural and gender differences in the areas of listening and responding. High school students enrolled in this one-semester course will be guided through engaging lectures and interactive activities, exploring themes of self-awareness and perception in communication. The course concludes with units on informative and persuasive speeches, and students are given the opportunity to critique and analyze speeches in the course.
Providing insight into the human dynamics of our diverse society, this is an engaging one-semester course that delves into the fundamental concepts of sociology. This interactive course, designed for high school students, covers cultural diversity and conformity, basic structures of society, individuals and socialization, stages of human development as they relate to sociology, deviance from social norms, social stratification, racial and ethnic interactions, gender roles, family structure, the economic and political aspects of sociology, the sociology of public institutions, and collective human behavior, both historically and in modern times.
*denotes semester long course
This two-semester course introduces high school students to the study of psychology and helps them master fundamental concepts in research, theory, and human behavior. Students analyze human growth, learning, personality, and behavior from the perspective of major theories within psychology, including the biological, psychosocial, and cognitive perspectives. From a psychological point of view, students investigate the nature of being human as they build a comprehensive understanding of traditional psychological concepts and contemporary perspectives in the field. Course components include an introduction to the history, perspectives, and research of psychology; an understanding of topics such as the biological aspects of psychology, learning, and cognitive development; the stages of human development; aspects of personality and intelligence; the classification and treatment of psychological disorders; and psychological aspects of social interactions.
In this two‐semester introductory course, students will learn the principles of business using real‐world examples—learning what it takes to plan and launch a product or service in today’s fast‐paced business environment. This course covers an introduction to economics, costs and profit, and different business types. Students are introduced to techniques for managing money, personally and as a business, and taxes and credit; the basics of financing a business; how a business relates to society both locally and globally; how to identify a business opportunity; and techniques for planning, executing, and marketing a business to respond to that opportunity.
Introducing art within historical, social, geographical, political, and religious contexts for understanding art and architecture through the ages, this course offers high school students an in-depth overview of art throughout history, with lessons organized by chronological and historical order and world regions. Students enrolled in this one-semester course cover topics including early Medieval and Romanesque art; art in the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries; fifteenth-century art in Europe; sixteenth-century art in Italy; the master artists; High Renaissance and Baroque art; world art, which includes the art of Asia, Africa, the Americas, and the Pacific cultures; eighteenth and nineteenth-century art in Europe and the Americas; and modern art in Europe and the Americas.
*denotes semester long course
Digital Arts focuses on building a solid foundation of the elements of art and design: line, shape, form, color, value, space, and texture. Topics include learning processes for evaluating artworks and identifying selected artists’ works, styles, and historical periods. Student learn 3D space in a 2D environment; filters, gradients, and highlights; and methods of working with color. By the end of this course, students will have created a unique portfolio of digital artwork, including repeating images to be used as a computer’s desktop background, a logo with text, two images scaled proportionally to one another, and a poster image and layout. Students advance their skills using Inkscape, a free open-source alternative to Adobe® Illustrator®, and also learn new tools such as the Spiral, Bezier, and Paint Bucket Tools.
Offering a comprehensive analysis of different types of motivation, study habits, and learning styles, this one-semester course encourages high school and middle school students to take control of their learning by exploring varying strategies for success. Providing engaging lessons that will help students identify what works best for them individually, this one-semester course covers important study skills, such as strategies for taking high-quality notes, memorization techniques, test-taking strategies, benefits of visual aids, and reading techniques.
*denotes semester long course
This one-semester course provides students with a comprehensive introduction to online learning, including how to work independently, stay safe, and develop effective study habits in virtual learning environments. Featuring direct-instruction videos, interactive tasks, authentic projects, and rigorous assessments, the course prepares students for high school by providing in- depth instruction and practice in important study skills such as time management, effective note-taking, test preparation, and collaborating effectively online. By the end of the course, students will understand what it takes to be successful online learners and responsible digital citizens.
*denotes semester long course
Covering art appreciation and the beginning of art history, this course encourages students to gain an understanding and appreciation of art in their everyday lives. Presented in an engaging format, this one-semester course provides an overview of many introductory themes: the definition of art, the cultural purpose of art, visual elements of art, terminology and principles of design, and two- and three-dimensional media and techniques. Tracing the history of art, high school students enrolled in the course also explore the following time periods and places: prehistoric art, art in ancient civilizations, and world art before 1400.
*denotes semester long course
Introducing high school students to the working world, this course provides the knowledge and insight necessary to compete in today’s challenging job market. This relevant and timely course helps students investigate careers as they apply to personal interests and abilities, develop skills and job search documents needed to enter the workforce, explore the rights of workers and traits of effective employees, and address the importance of professionalism and responsibility as careers change and evolve. This one-semester course includes lessons in which students create a self-assessment profile, a cover letter, and a résumé that can be used in their educational or career portfolio.
*denotes semester long course
This course focuses on the fundamental concepts of 3D modeling and explores the basic concepts and skills of 3D animation. Students learn Blender® software to create 3D models such as a house, a creature, an animation of the creature walking, and a landscape terrain. Activities include using points on a grid to create mountains and using a color gradient to create a sun and a moon. Students learn 3D space and 3D objects; creating, scaling, and rotating objects; materials and textures; poses and key frames; extruding and mirroring 3D objects; rendering animations; and appending materials, textures, objects, armatures, and animations. This course focuses on building animation skills including realistic movement and lighting. Students learn the Blender® software workspace and tools; location and rotation properties; scripts; IP curves; vector handles; rendering and baking animations and simulations; and particle systems and emitters. Activities and projects promote key 3D animation concepts including frames and key frames, squash and stretch, action strips, walk cycles and poses, and trajectories. Students develop the skills needed to design and create animations with an understanding of the skills needed to succeed as professional animators.