NewPathways Campaign (K-12) - Getting Smart


The NewPathways campaign, led by Getting Smart, is a roadmap for American schools, where every learner, regardless of zip code, is on a pathway to productive citizenship, high wage employment and economic mobility, and a purpose-driven life. It also explores and guides leaders on how access is expanded and personalized, how learning can be guided and supported, and how new capabilities are captured and communicated. When implemented, these advances are expected to unlock opportunities and narrow the equity gap.

The campaign is described in the April 12, 2023 blog article, Why Are New Pathways Essential? The approach recognizes that leading institutions and organizations across the nation are identifying pathways as a core component of a thriving economy and a missing piece from the K-12 experience. They posit that the new job of school is to help young people figure out who they are, what they’re good at, what they care about, and how/where to begin their contribution to their communities, to themselves, and to the world.

The initiative has identified six pillars of New Pathways:

  1. Unbundled Learning: Removes all the barriers and allows learning to happen at school, after school, with industry partners and anywhere a learner can imagine. It is the foundation for which new learning models are built and where learners are supported and systems are scaled.
  2. Credentialed Learning:  Allows students to have ownership of creating their academic selves, determine where they’re headed, and with whom they share their journey through digital credentials and learning records.
  3. Accelerated Learning: Learners move past imagining success, and instead experience success through curated learning experiences such as early college, boot camps, dual enrollment, earn-and-learn ladders, technical training, and apprenticeships. These clearly, articulated pathways enable opportunities that can reduce one or even two years of college and cut costs.
  4. New Learning Models: The learner experience is co-authored with students. Centered around personalized and competency-based learning, social-emotional learning and skill credentialing, new learning models link experiences to create new and emerging school architectures. New learning models are the heart of how pathways work.
  5. Support and Guidance:  Strong advisory systems build purpose, help learners explore careers, build their social capital and skyrockets their potential. Strong Support and Guidance systems are critical for learners to increase their agency and sense of belonging. When Support and Guidance is linked to pathways, learners know where they’re going, how to get there and who can provide support and resources along the way.
  6. Policies and SystemsAllow pathways to be brought to scale without only relying on the traditional ways of learning. Whether a grant, platform, technical assistance, diploma or curriculum network, aligned policies and systems are necessary for pathways to thrive. This pillar plays an integral role in shaping accessible and equitable experiences for all learners so that learning can be personalized, co-authored and sustainable.

Work builds on existing pathway exemplars such as:


Getting Smart is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools, districts, and networks, as well as learning and philanthropic organizations. The organization focuses on collaborating with and advocating for impact-oriented partners committed to accelerating the future of teaching, leading and learning.  The organization provides tailored advisory, advocacy and design solutions.

Getting Smart partners with American Student Assistance, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and Stand Together to investigate how to better embed pathways to help all learners find success in what’s next.


Getting Smart maintains a Library of resources. An example is the April 2023 publication, Credentialed Learning for All, which is informing the #New Pathways campaign.


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