I had the pleasure to attend a recent meeting with area businesses and our Chamber of Commerce where we discussed ways to offer up increased quality internship experiences for our students. Some of you may not realize that our students have had hundreds of internship experiences in hospitals, with elected officials, with law enforcement, in vet clinics, in local business, etc. You can read a little more about those opportunities here. There is much value in these internship experiences including gaining hands-on experience in a field of interest, gaining a realistic viewpoint of the workplace, exploring an organization or industry, and making professional contacts. We plan to offer up increased opportunities for internships in STEM fields along with the many great opportunities that are already available.
At our opening meeting, I asked every one of you to “Think like an Intern”. You may have asked yourself what I meant by that. An intern is an interesting position. Interns are fully embedded in an organization, but they are not trapped by rituals, traditions, and barriers that may impede employees from trying innovative ideas or thinking “outside of the box”. Interns, by nature, look at an organization from a different perspective. Instead of focusing on “That’s the way we’ve always done it,” they ask “why can’t we?” or “What if?” Successful internships involve finding a place where candidates belong, they involve a personal plan and pathway to give valuable experiences. These internships have a purpose and utilize the participants’ potential. Interns with positive experiences are ambassadors for their organization-they share with their friends the great things happening during their intern experience.
Think first of our students’ experiences in our district as an internship. We are preparing them for their future, but they are with us for just a short while. Let’s make their experience meaningful. We need to help them find:
- PLACE– Learning is social. Students must feel like they belong. Students SUCCEED when they find a place. Clubs, Chorus, Band, Drama, Athletics, ROTC, leadership positions, and field experiences make our district a home.
- Sense of PURPOSE– Reason to finish. They won’t finish the course if they don’t see a purpose. Show importance and relevance. Think of Innovative ways to reach and empower students. Innovation isn’t always world altering. It’s trying something new and learning from it.
- PERSONAL PLAN– Experiences must be personal to each student. They must be alive at every turn and connected. Student goal setting and monitoring is vital. No goal=no clear direction.
- PATHWAY– Success is different for every child. Choice, opportunities, and individualization are expected. We must move from bundled experiences that everyone gets to unbundled pathways based upon students’ personal goals. “Fair” means everyone gets what they need.
- POTENTIAL– We must look for the gem inside the stone.
- Be willing to Fail- and if you do, LEARN from it. Persevere and try something new.
- CONNECT, COLLABORATE and have the COURAGE to dream.
- MODEL for others, and learn as they model for you
- Embrace DIVERSITY in ideas, experiences and backgrounds!
- Have PASSION!
- Take appropriate RISKS!
Let’s do something great together!
-Dr. David Stegall