4.2 PathwayConnect Groups
A group is a collection of PathwayConnect students at a site who gather together weekly.
PathwayConnect students are assigned to a group type when they are admitted to the program. Group assignments are within one of PathwayConnect’s versions (Standard or L) and are based on a student’s age (as of the first day of classes). Group types may not be combined. Following are PathwayConnect’s group types:
- Age 18-30 Group
- Age 31+ Group
- Age 18-30 Group
- Age 31+ Group
PathwayConnect group size plays a key role in the overall student experience. The recommended group size is between 20–35 students. The maximum number of students recommended for optimal learning is 40. When enrollment exceeds 40 students, the group should be split and additional PathwayConnect missionaries called to facilitate the additional group.
In order to start a new group, a minimum number of individuals must apply. In areas where the minimum is not reached by the application deadline, students may apply again in the future or apply to attend another nearby site (if one exists).
Weekly PathwayConnect gatherings take place on Thursday evenings at a single, approved location (see 5.0 Gatherings). Each group type may meet in separate locations (if needed or required), but such locations should be in close proximity to the other group types. Gathering locations are typically determined by local priesthood and the Pathway Home Office when a site is initially launched. Following are recommended gathering locations for each group type:
Age 18-30 Groups: Gather at an institute facility (where one exists); or a meetinghouse/stake center Age 31+ Groups: Gather at a meetinghouse/stake center
Gathering locations should be established in central locations that can serve a wide radius of stakes. They also must have a high-speed Internet connection and be available to Pathway students during the BYU-Idaho academic year (September-July).
If a gathering location exceeds its capacity and cannot accommodate all students who desire to participate, an overflow location may be requested. Overflow location requests must be approved by the agent stake president and a Pathway area manager or director.
Overflow gatherings should be located in the next closest Church facility to the primary gathering place. Decisions and commitments regarding additional gathering places should not be made until approval is provided by Pathway in writing.
As outlined in 4.2.1, combining students from different versions and/or age groups is not permitted. However, in situations where there are not enough students in a single version (Standard or L) to form separate groups, students from both versions may combine for weekly PathwayConnect academic gatherings. (see “How to Combine Groups” below)
While students in this situation will gather with students who are enrolled in an opposite version (Standard or L), all students will take the courses associated with their assigned version.
When deciding to combine students from different versions, missionaries should notify their area manager at the PathwayConnect Home Office.
How to Combine Groups
In areas where there are not enough students in a single version to form separate gathering groups, the following best practices apply:
- All L version students (regardless of age) will attend academic gatherings with one Standard-version Age 31+ group.  (This is because the course sequence for students in the L version matches the course sequence for Standard – Age 31+ students.)
- L-version students ages 18–30 should attend institute. If schedules permit, they may attend institute with Standard-version students ages 18–30, or may coordinate with the institute to attend a different class.
- L-version students ages 31+ will not attend the religion gathering with age 31+ Standard-version students because L-version students in this age group do not take a religion course.
- Missionaries should contact their area manager at the PathwayConnect Home Office before deciding to combine students enrolled in different program versions (Standard and L).
Lead students will use the sample lesson plans associated with the gathering they attend.
- Example: If an L-version student is gathering with Standard-version students, the L-version student will use the sample lesson plan from the Standard course. Missionaries are responsible for providing lesson plans to students in this situation because the students will not have access to the lessons plans from the other version.
Speaking Partners and Peer Discussions (for L-version Students)
One of the main purposes of PathwayConnect’s L-version courses is to help students improve their English proficiency. Conversation practice, which includes listening to and speaking in English, is a key area of fluency. Therefore, in addition to listening to and speaking English at weekly gatherings, L-version students will also improve their English by completing a “Speaking Partner Appointment” and a “Peer Discussion Appointment” each week during lessons 1–12 in their academic course.
Speaking Partner Appointments As part of the Introduction Lesson in each PathwayConnect academic course, L-version students are required to find a speaking partner mentor (instructions are provided in the course). At each speaking partner appointment, students discuss assigned topics in English with their mentor for 30 minutes in person or through a video chat. After meeting with their mentor each week, students will complete the “Speaking Partner Appointment” assignment, found in their course.
Peer Discussion Appointments Besides the weekly speaking partner appointments, students also practice their English skills during weekly peer discussion appointments. While students are required to find their own partner for the speaking partner assignment — PathwayConnect missionaries assign “peer partners” for the weekly peer discussion appointments.
- How to Assign Peer Partners:
- Missionaries assign each L student to be a peer partner with another L student in the gathering group.
- If there are an odd number of L students in the gathering group, a group of three may be assigned.
- If there is only one L student in the gathering group, PathwayConnect missionaries encourage the student to find someone to speak English with each week to complete this assignment. Their partner may be a family member, friend, ward member, etc.
- Unless family members or relatives are being matched together, married students should never be matched with a peer of their opposite gender.
- Information for L-Version Students:
- Assigned peers will meet together throughout the semester to practice their English listening and speaking skills as they complete the “Peer Discussion Appointment” assignment in each lesson. Each assignment has specific discussion topics that reinforce and extend the learning for that particular lesson. Students should reserve about 30 minutes to complete each peer discussion activity.
- It is best if assigned peers meet in person, but they can also meet using a video chat tool. Peer partners may find it easiest to meet before or after the Thursday gatherings.
- After L-version students meet with their peer partner each week, they will submit a “Peer Discussion Appointment” assignment online in their course.
 This policy only allows for combining L-version students of all ages with Standard-version age 31+ students. Standard-version students from different age groups (Standard – Age 18–30 groups and Standard – Age 31+ groups) may not be combined.