Internships and Beyond 
Internships and Beyond

There has been a lot of discussion and research recently on how we can best prepare students for both college and careers while they are still in high school. At Twin Valley we believe we have an obligation to graduate students with a skill set that prepares them for the next chapter in their life after high school. Our experience has been that there are three best practices that will support our students on whatever they choose to pursue after they graduate.

Twin Valley Internship Program

The Internship Program at Twin Valley High School really starts at the middle school. 8th grade students have an opportunity to take a Careers Class were they not only learn about careers from guest speakers and the use of interest inventories but leave the class with a portfolio full of ideas and information about prospective careers. As students transition from the middle school to the high school they have the option to choose a career pathway that interests them based on their portfolios. For example, students who are interested in engineering may choose to take the Career Cluster, Engineering and Industrial Technologies that include courses such as digital electronics, civil engineering and architecture and AP Calculus. Each Career Cluster also includes an internship as part of the program. As the saying goes “nothing builds job skills like doing the job”, so by 11th and 12th grade students can gain further exposure to a particular career through a paid or unpaid internship. Over 100 students each year participate in the internship program. Experiences are diverse and range from working in hospitals to working for an engineering firm. Some internships have led to job placements after high school.

Another component of the Internship program is the Education Field Experience Program specifically designed for students interested in the field of teaching. Students opting for this experience are trained as co-teachers and work along-side a cooperating teacher in the classroom. Essentially what internships do for high school students is that it provides them relevance for what they are learning to the real world.

Leveraging Technology - Google Classroom and BYOD
Learning is no longer limited to the high school classroom. It can happen anywhere and at any time. Through the use of Google Classroom, a learning management system, our teachers have begun the process of putting their content online so that our students have the necessary production tools to work from anywhere any time. The system also allows collaboration with other students as well as the teacher developing the 21st century work skills such as teamwork and communication. Google Classrooms is further enhanced through the use of our BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program where students can register their cellphones, tablets, and laptops for use at school and are not limited to classroom computers to access course content online. Leveraging technology in this fashion assists students in taking control of their own learning.

Early College Access – Dual Enrollments

Offering college courses in high school is essential to preparing students for life after graduation. The process begins by partnering with local colleges and developing curriculum that encourages college coursework. The benefits of such a collaboration are varied. For example, it provides students with an opportunity to be a part of the college community while still in high school. It also gives them a head start on credits when they enter college. According to research, 70% of students who take dual enrollment courses in high school are successful in college and are more likely to graduate. Dual enrollment also provides our teachers access to college resources and professors. Through our program we have partnered with Reading Area Community College, Penn State University, Delaware County Community College, and Albright University. Some courses are taught by our teachers, others are offered at the chosen college or university or online. As new curriculum is developed we are continuing to add more college access opportunities for students. For example, we are adding additional college courses to our business department as that curriculum is being developed this year.

We believe these are three best practices helping to prepare our students to be college and career ready in the 21st Century.
Posted by JBuettler On March 24, 2016 at 9:23 AM