It's not only colleges and universities that offer valuable working internships to their students. Washington, D.C.-basedMcKinley Technology High School runs an internship program that will provide job experience for between 60 and 80 senior students this year.
The school has recently incorporated an individualized learning platform into its internship program to provide the framework for increased organization, program structure, and accountability measures. The high school, which focuses heavily on STEM curricula for its grade 9-12 students, will use the it’s learningplatform’s mentoring, behavior tracking and attendance features throughout the internship process.
Gideon Sanders, recently appointed Director of Partnerships and Internships at McKinley, determined that his students would benefit from a better-organized internship program. Having used it’s learning for his daily instructional practices, Sanders decided that the program could provide the tools and resources needed to increase accountability for students while making teachers and program mentors more active in the internship process.
“We are making sure that students remain accountable for their work by collaborating with site mentors in establishing benchmarks and implementing individual learning plans (ILP) that outline measures for success during the internship," said Sanders. "Program mentors will also take an active role in the new process by providing guidance and making sure that students are meeting their benchmarks."
Every two weeks on-site job mentors will assign students benchmarks such as learning new computer skills, completing project tasks, etc. Students are required to meet all benchmarks during the internship. These benchmarks will be part of the students’ ILPs that will be loaded into it’s learning and mentors will use the platform to let Sanders and members of the internship team, including assistant principals and guidance counselors, know when each benchmark has been completed. The ILPs will also allow for Sanders to note whether a student is struggling and intervene if necessary.
In addition, Sanders will use the platform’s behavior-tracking and attendance features to ensure that the right students are eligible for the internship program, and to make sure that these students are staying on track throughout the duration of their internship.
"it’s learning provides an easily accessible platform for mentors to comment on student work and to assess student progress, while allowing educators to easily view and track student performance,” concluded Sanders.