Pathways | CAP4K | Forward Thinking | Career & Technical Education | Workforce Readiness

P-20  Education and Pathways

APS offers P-20 Career and College Pathways at many of its schools:

The goal is to offer Career and College Pathways at all APS schools.

Education  PathwaysWhat are P-20 Career and College Pathways?
Career and College Pathways are an integrated collection of learning experiences intended to develop students’ core academic skills; and provide them with continuous education and employability credentials; in order to place them in high-demand, high-opportunity jobs.

Each Aurora Public Schools Pathway includes:

  • Rigorous coursework and experiences that prepare students for college and careers
  • Career clusters that are linked to Colorado industry sectors so students are prepared to find work in our state
  • Opportunities to master the skills and knowledge needed to compete in ever-changing 21st century jobs
  • Hands-on field experiences and community outreach projects related to coursework and career studies
  • Partnerships with all stakeholders – students, parents, staff, universities, businesses, community organizations, and governmental agencies

Where are the P-20 Career and College Pathways in Aurora Public Schools?
P-20  Education and PathwaysAurora Public Schools P-20 Career and College Pathways incorporate research-based teaching and learning best practices with a focus on innovation and creativity.  Students have the opportunity to access, explore and prepare for career and learning experiences beyond high school.  Current pathway opportunities exist throughout the school district.

The Aurora LIGHTS Pathway prepares students for careers in the health sciences. Students benefit from hands-on learning and field work with many community partners on the state-of-the-art Anschutz Medical Campus. The Aurora LIGHTS Pathway is offered at:

  • Laredo, Montview, Paris, Park Lane elementary schools
  • North Middle School Health Science & Technology Campus
  • Aurora Central, Hinkley, William Smith high schools
  • Pickens Technical College

The STEM Pathway prepares students to enter science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions. Community partners will offer students hands-on learning and field work. The Galaxy Pathway is offered at:

  • Fletcher Intermediate Science and Technology School
  • Aurora Hills, Columbia, Mrachek middle schools
  • Gateway and Rangeview high schools

Future Pathways include Business Administration and Arts & Communication:

  • Clyde Miller K-8 will offer the Business Administration Pathway.
  • Vista PEAK P-20 will offer both the Business Administration and Art & Design Pathways.

The Vista PEAK P-20 Campus, located at 6th Avenue and Harvest Road, will serve as a cutting edge model for multiple pathways.

  • Students will benefit from learning that begins in preschool and continues through high school, all on one site.
  • Students will also have the opportunity to earn college credit and pursue career options while in high school.
  • The P-20 Campus will open in August 2010, with a P-8 school. A comprehensive high school is slated to open in August 2011.

Explore other elements of Career & College Pathways in APS:



Senate Bill 212 – Colorado Achievement Plan 4 Kids
Cap 4    Kids

What is the Colorado Achievement Plan 4 Kids?

A bold initiative that guides students to academic and career success from preschool through college.

“…this measure creates for the first time in Colorado and possibly the country a truly aligned preschool-to-college educational system. It will establish new standards and new assessments so that students have the skills and the knowledge to succeed in today’s 21st Century, ultra-competitive global economy. It eliminates traditional walls between Colorado's pre-K, K-12 and higher-education systems.”
- Senate Bill 212 – CAP4K

How will CAP4K help my child succeed?

Some facts about CAP4K and how it benefits your child:

The Colorado Achievement Plan 4 Kids requires the State Board of Education (SBE) and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) to establish definitions of school readiness and postsecondary and workforce readiness.

  • While not requiring specific "seat time" requirements, CAP4K calls for establishing clear definitions of school readiness and postsecondary and workforce readiness for the first time in Colorado history.
  • The school readiness definition should address a child's ability to engage in and benefit from elementary school. At a minimum the adopted definition should include physical well-being, motor development, social and emotional development, language and comprehension development and cognition and general knowledge.
  • CAP4KRequires the SBE and CCHE to jointly adopt a formal definition of postsecondary and workforce readiness. In the future, all high schools will offer at least one Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Program and all students must enroll in a program.
  • In creating these definitions, the SBE and CCHE will be required to consult and collaborate with citizens, early childhood education providers, teachers/faculty, counselors, school/college administrators, board members, parents, students, and employers.

CAP4K expands and refines instructional standards from Preschool to Year 1 of college.

  • CAP4K calls for the expansion of CDE’s Model Content Standards to span all grades, from preschool through grade 12, and requires that these standards are anchored by and aligned with definitions of school readiness and postsecondary and workforce readiness.
  • Standards must be developed for, at a minimum: reading, writing, math, science, history, geography, the arts, physical education, world languages, economics and civics.
  • Requires that the newly adopted standards are comparable in scope, relevance, and rigor to the highest national and international standards that have been implemented successfully and are consistent with the achievement goals of the legislation.
  • Directs local school boards to revise their instructional standards to meet or exceed those established by the State Board of Education and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.
  • Permits and encourages local school boards to create multiple curricular pathways to accommodate students' varying interests. In doing so, school boards are not required to base decisions on traditional conventions, such as seat time (Carnegie Units) or course titles. All curricular pathways must ultimately lead to postsecondary and workforce readiness.

CAP4K CAP 4  Kidsrequires development of school readiness assessments and modifications to existing assessment system to align with postsecondary and workforce readiness standards.

  • Gov. Ritter's plan calls for the development of new or realignment of existing assessments, such as CSAPs and ACT.
  • The plan calls for each student enrolled in a public preschool or kindergarten program to receive an individual readiness plan that addresses the knowledge and skill areas in which the student needs assistance in making progress toward school readiness.
  • Central to this plan is the creation of greater relevance for students, parents, and teachers in the state's assessment system and a requirement that assessments administered in high school can be used for guidance and college admission purposes.
  • Also central to the plan is the creation of a school readiness assessment so that achievement gaps can be identified earlier and preschool and kindergarten can be expanded and improved to ensure that every child starts 1st grade prepared to succeed.
  • This section also requires the maintenance of a high level of accountability and continuous compliance with federal law.
  • Expects the SBE to describe the level of English language competency a student must demonstrate to be postsecondary and workforce ready.
  • Requires the SBE to determine the criteria for an endorsed diploma to indicate that a student has achieved postsecondary and workforce readiness. SBE shall also adopt criteria a school may use to grant endorsements to graduating students who have shown extraordinary academic achievement or exemplary demonstration of workforce readiness, or outstanding accomplishments in a variety of subject areas.
  • Requires the Colorado Department of Education to establish a pilot program for the purpose of evaluating standards and collecting data regarding student performance on nationally recognized postsecondary and workforce planning, preparation and readiness assessments. SBE shall use data collected in this pilot program to help create the standards and assessments that will be adopted and administered statewide following the completion of the pilot program.

CAP4K amends CCHE admission & remediation policies to permit students to qualify for college admission by demonstrated proficiency, not by seat time or course titles alone.

  • CAP4K charges the Colorado Commission on Higher Education with amending its policies to allow students to qualify for admission and placement into credit-bearing college courses by way of demonstrations of proficiency, not simply seat time or course titles.
  • Creates postsecondary and workforce readiness standards that can be used to guarantee admission to certain postsecondary institutions.
CAP 4  Kids


CAP4K creates support for the stages of planning and design necessary to implement a fundamental and systemic change in Colorado’s education system.

  • Recognizes that creating a seamless system of standards, expectations and assessments is a multi-faced and complex project that will require multiple stages of planning and design, and implementation will likely continue over years, and will require the reallocation of state resources and the identification and allocation of new resources.
  • The Department of Education and the Department of Higher Education, upon request, will provide support to local education providers in implementing postsecondary and workforce readiness standards.
  • Requests the Colorado Department of Education in consultation with the Colorado Department of Higher Education to contract with a research entity to conduct a study of the costs of reviewing, adopting and implementing the standards and assessment realignment.



CAP4K - School Readiness

How does CAP4K define school readiness for my child?

CAP4K and School Readiness

School Readiness in CAP4K describes whether a child is ready to engage in and benefit from learning experiences, as well as the ability of a school to meet the needs of all students. School Readiness is enhanced when schools, families, and community service providers work collaboratively to ensure that every child is ready for higher levels of learning.

According to CAP4K, what will be part of my child's learning?

CAP4K Emphasizes 21st Century Skills and Abilities

CAP4K - 21st  Century Skills and Abilities

Colorado's description of 21st Century skills highlights essential abilities students must apply in our fast-changing world. These essentials skills are:

  • Critical thinking and reasoning (for example, problem solving, analysis, logic, cause/effect)
  • Information literacy (for example, knowledge acquisition, source discernment, systems management)
  • Collaboration (for example, synergy, team resourcing, social skills, leadership)
  • Self-direction (for example, adaptability, initiative, personal responsibility, work ethics, self-advocacy)
  • Invention (for example, creativity, innovation, integration of ideas)

How does CAP4 prepare my child for today's fast-paced, global economy?

CAP4K Prepares Students for Postsecondary Academics & Workforce Readiness

Colorado’s description of postsecondary and workforce readiness is a student’s ability to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and competencies required for success in a global, interdependent society.

CAP4K - Workforce Readiness

Students must demonstrate:

  • Application of reading, writing, and computing skills (for example, skills and performance necessary for entrance into a postsecondary institution or the workforce)
  • Logical reasoning and argumentation abilities (for example, identifying a reasoned viewpoint which a student can persuasively and successfully communicate)
  • Identification and solving of problems (for example, monitoring and self-correcting performance, finding dilemmas, gaps and needs and generating accurate solutions; initiating, innovating, creating)
  • Information management skills (for example, system thinking competencies, financial awareness, increasing productivity and adapting to new information)
  • Human relation skills (for example, students are self-directed, applying integrity and work ethic, cooperation, tolerance)
  • Analysis and interpretation skills (for example, capacity to read into facts, patterns and conclusions which advance information and understanding)


CDE Forward Thinking

Forward  Thinking

Forward Thinking:
The Voice and Future of the Colorado Department of Education

The Colorado Department of Education launched a plan entitled Forward Thinking in September of 2007.  Forward Thinking was designed “to create a purpose-driven and dynamic system of educational leadership, service and support that relentlessly focuses on the learning of ALL students.”

Intended to complement P-20 efforts already underway, Forward Thinking strives to improve the education of young people by moving forward on a variety of fronts, including:

  • Creating private-public partnerships that enhance the growth of K-12 education
  • Forward  ThinkingEstablishing a Legacy Foundation (funded privately which serves K-12 interests)
  • Revising standards and assessments (initially funded without taxpayer dollars)
  • Hosting a summit for Colorado leaders to collaborate on education issues
  • Improving conditions that contribute to success of all students
  • Setting quality standards for the provision of online education programs
  • Enhancing the system of support for schools through model curriculum
  • Introducing a Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship to ensure that critical industry skills are embedded in educational standards
  • Establishing a Legacy Scholars program for 100 top seniors who enroll in Colorado colleges and accept hard-to-staff teaching assignments after graduation
  • Restoring CDE reputation by modeling self-improvement, e.g., publicizing the results of annual stakeholders surveys
  • Creating a Futures Center to support development of a vision for public education
  • Making budget processes transparent and understandable
  • Applying discretionary dollars to areas of greatest academic need
  • Improving the collection, reporting, and management of data

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) Forward Thinking Plan can be downloaded at:

A progress report regarding the implementation of “Forward Thinking can be downloaded at:

Career and Technical Education

Career  and Technical Education

Career and Technical Education is a planned program of courses and learning experiences that begins with exploration of career options. CTE supports basic academic and life skills, and encourages high academic standards, leadership, career preparation, and lifelong learning.

Today’s CTE provides students:

  • Real-world academics
  • Employability skills, from job-related skills to workplace ethics
  • Career pathways that link secondary and postsecondary education
  • Second-chance education and training
  • Education for additional training and degrees, especially related to workplace training, skills upgrades and career advancement
Colorado Career Cluster - Click to view as a pdf.
Click the map above to view as a PDF.

For more information on Career and Technical Education (CTE) please visit the following websites:



Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness & 21st Century Skills

Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness

21st Century Skills
Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness

What does it mean to be Postsecondary and Workforce Ready?  

“Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness” describes the knowledge, skills, and behaviors essential for high school graduates to enter college and the workforce and to compete in today's global economy.

To be postsecondary and workforce ready, secondary students shall achieve specific content knowledge, learning and behavior skills without the need for remedial instruction or training. This includes the completion of increasingly challenging, engaging, and coherent academic work and experiences, and the achievement of proficiency shown by a body of evidence including postsecondary and workforce readiness assessments and other relevant materials that document a student’s postsecondary and workforce readiness.

What content knowledge will students need to demonstrate for PWR?

To be postsecondary and workforce ready, students will need to demonstrate proficiency in the following content knowledge areas:


  • Read fiction and non-fiction, understanding conclusions reached and points of view expressed
  • Write clearly and coherently for a variety of purposes and audiences
  • Use logic and rhetoric to analyze and critique ideas
  • Access and use primary and secondary sources to explain questions being researched
  • Employ standard English language properly and fluently in reading, writing, listening, and speaking

Postsecondary and Workforce ReadinessMathematical Sciences

  • Think critically, analyze evidence, read graphs, understand logical arguments, detect logical fallacies, test conjectures, evaluate risks, and appreciate the role mathematics plays in the modern world, i.e., be quantitatively literate
  • Understand and apply algebraic and geometric concepts and techniques
  • Use concepts and techniques of probability and statistics
  • Apply knowledge of mathematics to problem solve, analyze issues, and make critical decisions that arise in everyday life


  • Think scientifically and apply the scientific method to complex systems and phenomena
  • Use theoretical principles within a scientific field and relevant empirical evidence to make and draw conclusions
  • Recognize that scientific conclusions are subject to interpretation and can be challenged
  • Understand the core scientific concepts, principles, laws, and vocabulary, and how scientific knowledge is extended, refined, and revised over time

Postsecondary and Workforce ReadinessSocial Studies and Social Sciences

  • Identify and describe historical, social, cultural, political, geographical, and economic concepts
  • Interpret sources, and evaluate evidence and competing ideas
  • Build conceptual frameworks based on an understanding of themes and the overall flow of events
  • Understand how government works in the United States and in other countries, the varying roles individuals may play in society, and the nature of civic responsibility
  • Interpret information from a global and multicultural perspective

The Arts and Humanities

  • Understand and appreciate how the arts and humanities (expressions of culture and identity through language, movement, sound, and visual representation) contribute to and shape culture and our understanding of culture
  • Understand how the arts and literature are used as instruments of social and political thought
  • Identify leading innovators in the arts and humanities and the contributions they have made to their respective art forms


What learning and behavior skills will students need to demonstrate for PWR?

To be postsecondary and workforce ready, students will need to demonstrate proficiency with the following learning and behavior skills:

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

  • Apply logical reasoning and analytical skills
  • Conduct research using acceptable research methods
  • Understand different research approaches
  • Postsecondary and Workforce ReadinessCollect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data and research
  • Evaluate the credibility and relevance of information, ideas, and arguments
  • Discern bias, pose questions, marshal evidence, and present solutions

Find and Use Information/Information Technology

  • Select, integrate, and apply appropriate technology to access and evaluate new information
  • Understand the ethical uses of information
  • Provide citations for resources

Creativity and Innovation

  • Demonstrate intellectual curiosity
  • Generate, evaluate, and implement new ideas and novel approaches
  • Develop new connections where none previously existed

Global and Cultural Awareness

  • Appreciate the arts, culture, and humanities
  • Interact effectively with and respect the diversity of different individuals, groups, and cultures
  • Recognize the interdependent nature of our world
  • Understand how communicating in another language can improve learning in other disciplines and expand professional, personal, and social opportunities

Civic Responsibility

  • Recognize the value of civic engagement and its role in a healthy democracy and civil society
  • Be involved in the community and participate in its political life
  • Balance personal freedom with the interests of a community

Postsecondary and Workforce ReadinessWork Ethic

  • Plan and prioritize goals
  • Manage time effectively
  • Take initiative, and follow through
  • Learn from instruction and criticism
  • Take responsibility for completion of work
  • Act with maturity, civility, and politeness
  • Demonstrate flexibility and adaptability

Personal Responsibility

  • Balance self-advocacy with the consideration of others
  • Possess financial literacy and awareness of consumer economics
  • Behave honestly and ethically
  • Take responsibility for actions
  • Understand the relevance of learning to postsecondary and workforce readiness
  • Demonstrate awareness of and evaluate career options
  • Attend to personal health and wellness


  • Read, write, listen and speak effectively
  • Construct clear, coherent, and persuasive arguments
  • Communicate and interact effectively with people who have different primary languages


  • Work effectively with others
  • Acknowledge authority and take direction
  • Cooperate for a common purpose
  • Use teamwork and leadership skills effectively

What career-based knowledge and skills will students need to demonstrate for 21st Century Skills?

To be ready to excel in the 21st Century, students will need to demonstrate proficiency with the following foundational career-based knowledge and skills that will be oriented toward the student's preferred career "cluster":

Academic Foundations
The student demonstrates the level of academic competency required for his or her chosen career field.

Postsecondary and Workforce ReadinessCommunications
The student demonstrates the abilityto speak, listen, read, and write to function successfully in a variety of settings including school, home, and the worksite.

Employability and Career Development
The student demonstrates key employability skills and is actively engaged in his/her own career development including the setting of personal learning, earning, and living goals and establishing a plan for reaching them.

Information Technology Applications
The student understands technology systems and uses information technology tools including the use of basic e-mail functions, web-search applications, software applications (word-processing, presentation, database, spreadsheet), collaborative/groupware, and personal information management/productivity applications.

Leadership and Teamwork
The student applies leadership knowledge and skills, conflict management skills, and an understanding of cultural, social, and ethnic diversity to achieve group goals and consensus.

Postsecondary and Workforce ReadinessLegal Responsibilities and Ethics
The student understands legal and ethical responsibilities and exhibitspersonal accountability, integrity, and responsibility.

Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
The student identifies problems, understands his/her context, and develops creative solutions.

Safety, Health, and Environmental
The student understands health and safety issues and the existing and potential hazards to himself/herself and others.

The student understands the interrelationship between social, organizational, and technological systems; the effect of systems on the quality of the product or service provided; and the importance of adhering to established policies and procedures.

Technical Skills
The student demonstrates the ability to select, apply, and evaluate the appropriate tools, equipment, technology, and processes of chosen career field/cluster.

Further information on 21st Century Skills can be found at: