This program is no longer running, but it was a foundational program involving PSESD.

PathNet coordinated educational advocates from a range of youth-serving organizations, institutions and schools to offer skill development and case management to youth at risk for dropping out, involved in Becca, and/or in the Juvenile Justice System. Services promoted the achievement of a diploma, GED or vocational certificate, and engagement in career planning. Individuals who lack a high school diploma not only have a difficult time finding a living wage-earning job or career, they are much more likely to commit crimes. The King County Systems Integration Initiative, in a 2005 study, found that 70% of youth on probation in the King County Juvenile Justice System had already dropped out or had so few credits that graduation would likely be unattainable. At the adult level, 65-70% of Washington state inmates never graduated from high school. One of the most effective deterrents to incarceration is staying in school. 

To date, youth-serving systems continue to be challenged in coordinating their efforts to address the growing rate of dropouts. Without systematic coordination and effective programming, a significant portion of our youth will be under prepared for education and employment. Through organizational collaboration and leadership, PathNet reengaged youth with the education system so that they could have the opportunity to fulfill their education and career goals. Policy reform efforts are being directed toward the infrastructure to support a statewide dropout reengagement system, which allows for the pursuit of the GEDplus. The GEDplus is an alternative pathway toward the end goal of a vocation and career. Although not comparable to a diploma, the GEDplus may be a viable alternative pathway for many youth who have dropped out of school or have so few credits as to make graduation unlikely.

The Four Cornerstones of the PathNet Model

PathNet promoted four cornerstones as the architecture of the model:

  • A strength-based assessment that focuses on what the youth can do, rather than on their barriers and failures
  • A youth-driven plan designed to take what was learned in the strength-based assessment and develop a realistic, meaningful and individualized plan created by the youth
  • A care manager who was selected by the youth and supported by the system to be a significant adult who fosters their education and employment goals
  • Connectivity to education and employment training with the end-goal of a living-wage job and career



One way cannot be the only way. For youth who successfully earn a high school diploma or GED, many never go beyond basic skills in community college. PathNet took aggressive efforts to reconnect youth to the skills necessary for postsecondary study and employment, leading to the end goal of a career. This approach to reengagement is defined as a GEDplus–an immediate connection to the next educational/vocational step, such as community college, pre-apprenticeship, certificate programs, vocational training, etc. It is an important re-entry point for many young people into the world of work and higher education. For many, they will be the first in their family to complete a post-secondary educational experience.

Areas of Distinction

  • Alternatives to Suspension and Expulsion- identifying and promoting promising practices for alternatives to traditional discipline approaches that increase school engagement and decrease suspension, expulsion and dropout rates.
  • Educational Advocacy – provide individualized, strength-based services to youth and their families to address the barriers for students returning to school. Educational Advocates work in collaboration with school districts, juvenile justice staff, DSHS, and community agencies to help youth develop, implement and follow through with realistic and meaningful plans to enroll in post-secondary education. PathNet used research-based practices to inform our advocates about how to engage at-risk youth in their education at every level (prevention, intervention and retrieval), and to explore what indicators and measures are necessary for maximizing impact across diverse vulnerable populations.
  • Crossover Youth Practice Model – focused how best to implement effective practices for crossover youth (youth involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems).
  • Youth Offender Education and Employment Training (EET) – a promising practice incorporating research-based approaches to impact youth justice, long-term workforce development and accountability for offenders. Click here to learn more.



Partner organizations and institutions include community colleges, school districts, community based organizations, social service agencies, the justice system and employment training agencies.

Programs and projects currently utilizing the PathNet Model:

  • PathNet Pilot Project – funded by King County Superior Court through Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA)
The PathNet Pilot was provided through the King County Work Training program. This program served youth on probation who have dropped out of school. The evaluation and technical support of this pilot are currently funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation through the Models for Change Systems Reform in Juvenile Justice.
  • Youth REACH Pilot Program – funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation 
“Youth R.E.A.C.H” (Re-engaging in Education through Action and Coordinated Help) offers a three-tiered truancy post-filing diversion process of graduated school-based interventions, including School Engagement Workshops, Community Truancy Boards, and Case Management. 

Additional Information & Resources