Year one of the Externship program was focused on CTE teachers as a means of gaining direct access to industry professionals within their area of study in order to:
- Validate the instruction being delivered
- Introduce real industry issues as potential class problem-based learning examples
- Align industry certifications we offer students with those employers recognize as valuable within each course and WPS pathway
- Solicit employer participation in the hiring and providing internships and/or apprenticeships to students, CTE advisory board membership, project mentorship, etc.
- Provide input on current technology and equipment needed to ensure classroom instruction is industry relevant
- Create personal relationships between our educators and the employers in our community
For the last five years, our CTE work centered on the development of our teachers and the articulation of their courses to a recognized professional pathway. With that infrastructure in place, the teachers were able to bring specific questions to the industry professionals at job sites. The dialogue has helped teachers take their course instruction to a higher level. The interaction is authentic because both the teachers and the employers are able to discuss the issues, obstacles, research, innovations, and applications of knowledge in their respective field. In settings where teachers from different pathways and/or core teachers attended with CTE teachers, the links created between their courses fueled a more “industry natural” approach to problem solving. The teachers dissolved the classroom silos between them and started to brainstorm ways they could work together to connect the content for students.
Teacher participation was purely voluntary.
Employers visited by our teachers included representation of: marketing, bioscience, healthcare, animal science, food production, environmental sustainability and protection, metals, information technology/cyber security, media production, sports and entertainment, architecture and engineering.
The program took place in June and teachers were able to attend any session posted. The host company coordinated internal attendees based on the teacher area of focus.