Teachers learning real-life application of skills

Published 10:23 am Wednesday, June 1, 2016

High school teachers from Warren Central High School and Vicksburg High School were sent out into the community Tuesday to study how local businesses and organizations work.

The externship was part of prerequisite for the new academies the district is implementing in the high schools to increase relevancy and add project-based learning to the curriculum.

Warren Central math teacher Amber Davis toured the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Coastal and Hydraulics Lab to learn some of the real life application of what students are learning in her classroom.

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“It’s an externship for teachers to start training how to apply the new academy principles in our lessons to benefit the students of the Vicksburg Warren School District,” she said. “This is a way where right here at home in Vicksburg, we can use examples that are relevant to our students here.”

Warren Central math teacher Jeff Pilgrim added, “It’s not just relevance on a job market level, it’s relevance on the community level.”

The academies will be broken down into three tracks the students can choose from: Architecture, Construction, Mechatronics and Engineering (ACME), Health and Human Services (HHS) and Communications, Art and Business (CAB). All sophomores in the Vicksburg Warren School District will begin on a track this coming school year, and freshmen coming from the Academy of Innovation will have the option to enter into the ACME track.

The ACME teachers visited the USACE Engineer Research and Development Center, HHS teachers visited Merit Health River Region Medical Center and CAB teachers visited local government offices and Chick-fil-A.

Career and Technical Education Administrator Lucy DeRossette said the externship was an opportunity for teachers to go out and see what businesses and organizations do.

“They don’t know because they’re teachers like me,” she said. “They graduated college and went right in to teaching, and they didn’t work in the real world and get to experience those real world problems.”

Wednesday through Friday the teachers will complete training by Buck Institute for Education, the nation’s leader in project-based learning.

“The idea is for the project to be across the board with the English teacher, the math teacher, the history teacher, the science teacher and the career tech teacher are working together,” DeRossette said. “That’s the goal.”

DeRossette added taking the step to bring in businesses is a milestone in and of itself.

“We have to graduate people who can go to work in these businesses,” she said. “Mr. (VWSD Board of Trustees member Joe) Loviza says, ‘All education leads to employment.’ This opens the doors to get the business people and the educators talking.”