Freshman Pathways

Freshman Pathways

The purpose of the pathway model is to help guide students through the wide variety of course offerings at Rancho Cotate High School, while allowing unique interest area connections for each student.

Rancho Cotate's Academic Pathways offer a rich four-year experience allowing you to explore many classes within your field of interest, and part of this experience is choosing your first step. Select one of the freshman courses below to start your journey.

Pathway Options:


Students may choose to pursue World Geography Honors which explores the physical and cultural geography of the world. It fosters geographic awareness and cultural tolerance. This is a great precursor fo rAP World History; or students may prepare to take your place in the global environment by mastering a language in the World Languages Pathway. Spanish 1 and French 1 are offered for your freshman year, and there is a strong four-year pathway to help you continue to build your skills. This instruction is communication-based stressing that students develop thinking, speaking, reading and writing skills in the target language.


As a Freshmen Selective to the Health Science Academy Principles of Biomedical Sciences is the course offering. This course is aligned with national learning standards, which follows a proven hands-on, real-world problem solving approach to learning. Students are introduced to human physiology, medicine and research processes.


In this is your academy of interest, your Freshmen Selective will be Engineering & Design Survey. In this survey course, you rotate through four 9 week classes -, Auto Body & Welding, Wood Shop, Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Business Management. Related career information will be emphasized.


Students are able to select from two different options. Art 1 which is a year long program with 18 weeks focusing on drawing, color, and elements and principles of design. During the second 18 weeks students focus will be on mastering the basics with special emphasis on original works or art that communicate personal and universal themes. The second option is Performing Arts Survey with 18 weeks comprised on Music Survey providing an introductionto the basic elements of music theory. The second 18 weeks students are introduced to Theater, Debate, Stage Craft and Technology associated with productions.


In this survey course, you rotate through four 9 week classes - Computer Technologies, Advertising & Marketing in Business, Intro to Graphic Arts and Digital Photography. This survey course can lead to two differentAcademic Pathways - Media Arts as well as Business & Technology.

All 9th grade students are required to enroll in a freshman requirement selection. Each of these freshman requirement classes includes studies of the following concepts. These courses are designed with the idea of integrating this curricular area of interest into the student's Math and English classes:

Organization: Students learn to maintain an assignment planning calendar and notebook organizational system.

Note Taking:

Students learn to take notes from lectures and other sources following the Cornell note taking style championed by the AVID program.

Presentation: Students prepare an oral project presentation supported by computer technology that will serve as an introductory model for their senior project presentation.

Career Planning: Students assess their career areas of interest by using the KUDER career planning software provided by the Regional Occupational Program through the Sonoma County Office of Education.

Employment Development: Students will apply for the "Work Ready Certificate" system provided by the Regional Occupational Program through the Sonoma County Office of Education.

Service Project: Students will fulfill a minimum of 10 hours of community service toward the 40 hours required for graduation.

Each student is free to design an inpidual academic pathway in their 4 year experience. Every student is unique, and our curricular pathways are flexible and we encourage students to be involved in multiple pathways over the course of their journey. RCHS equals or surpasses the depth and breadth in curricular offerings of any high school in California.

  • Over 40 unique academic course offerings in English, Math, Science, Social Science and World Language (Spanish and French) including 20 Honors and Advanced Placement offerings.
  • Over 25 Career Technical course offerings in Business & Computer Applications, along with Industrial Education courses in woods, Auto Body & Welding, and Computer Assisted Design (CAD).
  • 8 different Media Arts & publications courses.
  • 7 unique Performing Arts courses encompassing Theater Arts, Bands, and vocal music
  • 12 unique Visual Arts courses in drawing, painting, art fundamentals, pottery, photography, and Computer Graphics.
  • Additional general elective courses such as Student Leadership classes, Psychology, Weight lifting, and Dance.

In order to fulfill the pathway requirements, a related senior project must be completed. These "projects" are built from the student's chosen academic focus, based on their volunteerism, internship, or work experience.

Examples of senior projects include but are not limited to a community volunteer activity, a variety of job shadowing, and internship or work experience opportunities.

Senior Project:

In order to enroll in a "senior project" course, students are to build upon their personal background by completing a series of courses from our "Concentrator" courses listing, in their unique area of interest as follows:

Liberal Arts "Humanities" emphasis: Concurrently enrolled in a 4th course in English or 3rd course in Social Science.

Liberal Arts"Languages" emphasis: Concurrently enrolled in a fourth course in Spanish or French.

Liberal Arts"Science or Math" emphasis: Concurrently enrolled in a fourth course in science or math.

Health Informatics & Medical technologies emphasis: Concurrently enrolled in a third course in the medical pathway - Medical Occupations, Medical Terminology, Advanced Biology - Anatomy, or Health Occupations Internship.

Media Arts: Concurrently enrolled in athirdmedia course -Yearbook or student newspaper, digital photography, digital video, or Animation.

Business Technologies: Concurrently enrolled in a third course in Business education - Business Technologies, Business Management, Virtual Enterprise, or Accounting.

Arts & Entertainment "Visual Arts" emphasis: Concurrently enrolled in a third visual arts course (AP Studio Art recommended).

Arts & Entertainment "Digital Arts"Concurrently enrolled in a third digital arts course - digital photography or Animation.emphasis:

Arts & Entertainment "Performing Arts" emphasis:Concurrently enrolled in (or completed) a third course in Theater or Music.

Engineering & Design - "Automotive" emphasis: Concurrently enrolled in (or completed) a third course in Auto Body Shop & Welding or any combination of classes to include Auto Body, CAD, Painting, Graphic Design or Digital Photo.

Engineering & Design - "Woodcraft " emphasis: Concurrently enrolled in (or completed) a third course in Wood Shop or any combination of classes to include CAD, Drawing or Graphic Design.

Engineering & Design - "Design & Building" emphasis: Concurrently enrolled in a third course in any combination of Auto Body, Wood Shop, CAD or 3D Animation.

Community Service & Leadership: Concurrently serving in a fourth year in a school leadership position - ASB, Class, Club, California Scholarship Federation or Honor Society.