Three Pathways, STEM, CTE, and Humanities, guide students in learning that is relevant to their lives now and the ones they imagine for their future. Our rich program offerings also include Project Lead the Way, JROTC, Seal of Biliteracy, World Languages, Fine and Performing Arts, and Project Adventure. Community-based learning experiences include Early College, Dual-Enrollment, Coops, and Internships. Salem High School’s Special Education leverages a menu of services to support the learning of students with disabilities. Our ESL department moves English language learners through levels of proficiency via the Newcomer, Beginner, and Intermediate classes. By employing Standards-Based and Social-Emotional Learning Practices, every student at SHS is held to the same rigorous learning targets based on state/national standards, and every student at SHS will receive the support they need to demonstrate proficiency (learning) in those standards.


What is a Pathway?

Pathways provide an optional framework for students to explore a content area of their choosing in greater depth via community-based and advanced coursework learning. All Pathways offer specific strands of interest that culminate with an opportunity to earn an endorsement on their diploma upon graduation.

All Salem High School students will work through courses that help them develop content proficiency and post-secondary readiness regardless of which pathway they choose (or if they follow none). Note: Students are not required to choose and/or complete a pathway in order to graduate from Salem High School.

What is a Strand?

There are strands representing specific areas of interest that fall under the larger umbrella of a Pathway. For example, students interested in the health profession may select the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Pathway and follow the Health Science Strand.

What is an Endorsement?

An endorsement is a seal on the diploma of students who have chosen to complete additional learning experiences within their strand (along with all Salem High School graduation requirements). These additional endorsements include (but are not limited to): Project-Based Learning, Work-Based Learning, Service Learning Projects, and Civics-Oriented Projects. They are outlined in the Pathway description pages that follow. Endorsements give Salem High School graduates a competitive edge on resumes and college applications because of expanded networks, widened horizons, community partnerships, and mentoring that result from the community-based and advanced coursework learning experiences.

Project Lead the Way (PLTW)

Project Lead the Way provides a transformative learning experiences for Salem High School students focusing on 21st century skills. Salem High School teachers through the program create an engaging, hands-on classroom environment and empower students to develop in-demand knowledge, problem-solving strategies, critically and creative thinking, communication and collaboration skills, and the perseverance necessary to deal with setbacks.

Salem High School currently offers six different Project Lead the Way courses including Principles of Biomedical Sciences, Medical Interventions, Human Body Systems, Introduction to Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering, and Environmental Sustainability.

Seal of Biliteracy

The World Language and EL Departments support and encourage our students to achieve the Seal of Biliteracy. The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in recognition of students who have attained proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in two or more languages by high school graduation. This award is noted on the student transcript and is nationally recognized.

The Seal of Biliteracy aims to; encourage students to study and master languages; certify attainment of biliteracy skills; recognize the value of language diversity; provide employers with a method of identifying people with language and biliteracy skills; prepare students with skills that will benefit them in the labor market and the global society; and strengthen intergroup communication and honor the multiple cultures and languages in a community.

The Seal of Biliteracy also provides universities with a method to recognize and give course credits to applicants for attainment of high-level skills in languages. In addition, having earned the state Seal of Biliteracy, the Massachusetts Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education will provide students with a voucher to take a Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) at no cost. You may choose to apply this award to either the Communication and Literacy MTEL or the Bilingual Education MTEL.

In order to reach the level of Intermediate High and Advanced Low to attain this nationally accepted award, World Language students are encouraged to take at least 3 years of a language.

For languages that do not have readily available assessments, students complete a portfolio demonstrating Intermediate-High proficiency in speaking, writing, reading, and listening.

Project Adventure

This highly recommended course will provide students with an opportunity to work individually, as well as together in a group, through unique challenges, to solve problems and experience success. These unique and relevant experiences will promote individual and group goal setting, critical thinking, collaboration, and empower students to make positive change through experiential learning. Students will realize increased self-confidence, develop leadership skills, discover the power of group cooperation, and learn to view obstacles as opportunities for growth. Activities are accessible to all students and set in an environment that is fun, safe, and respectful. Students are evaluated on their effort and engagement throughout the semester. This course is based on the belief that a learning environment that utilizes adventure and cooperative learning techniques, in a supportive classroom, is an optimal educational experience.

Early College & Dual-Enrollment

Charlotte Forten Scholars Early College Program:

Named after Salem State University’s first African-American graduate, the Charlotte Forten Scholars Early College Program is dedicated to serving and providing FREE access to students to help them gain an early start on core college classes and explore career pathways.

As juniors, students are enrolled in a Salem State English and history course that is co-taught by Salem State professors and Salem High School teachers. During students’ senior year, they will take two classes in either a healthcare or business career pathway on the Salem State campus. Successful completion of these classes guarantees the students can graduate Salem High School with twelve college credits that are transferrable to ANY college programs while counting as high school credits towards graduation.

In addition, students work with LEAP for Education and the Northshore Workforce Investment Board during their junior year focusing on the college application process and job skills such as resume building and interviewing.

Dual Enrollment provides opportunities for Massachusetts high school students to take college- level courses free of charge* and earn credit simultaneously toward high school completion and their future college degrees. The College Dual Enrollment Program CDEP eases the transition from high school to college, allows students to get a head start on their college careers, and provides meaningful and challenging academic experiences to qualified students who otherwise may not have access to an early college experience.

The ultimate goal of CDEP is to increase the population of high school graduates who are college ready. Student participation in CDEP is at the discretion of the participating institution of higher education, subject to capacity constraints and a state appropriation. Some institutions may charge a nominal admission fee (for example, $25), which may be waived.

Co-ops & Internships

Senior Internship Program is an opportunity to apply content proficiency to post-secondary readiness. Students align post-secondary goals with an internship experience that engages them in challenging and work-based-learning opportunities. The internships build student agency, professional networks, and experience with community service.

The first four weeks of the internship prepare students with the basic “soft skills” that they will need in order to successfully establish an internship. They engage in: expectations/policy, career exploration, skill self-assessment, post-high school planning, filling out a job application, resume building, emailing etiquette, making phone calls, elevator pitches, building a schedule/time-management, and searching for and solidifying an internship.

During their internship, students continue to work on various soft-skill development activities including communication, technology/social media, workplace safety, leadership development, social justice and diversity, financial literacy, and interview readiness. The program culminates with an Expo Project in which students present a summary of their internship connected and supported their post-secondary goals.