School to Work Informs “about the expectations of the real world”


Design by Katie Lins.

Gloria Akosa and Kelsey Deering

  School for Wayzata High School students will not be held on Friday, April 12th, according to Media Center Specialist and Organizer for High School Integration Tina Christopherson. This is because Wayzata High School will be hosting the Minnesota State Speech Tournament on that Friday; several schools from around the state will be competing at the high school in the tournament.
  “Teachers will still be reporting into work because our elementary and middle schools will still be in session,” said Christopherson. In order to ensure students are still learning and teachers are still working, April 12th will be a “digital day,” meaning students will learn lessons from classes online via Canvas like a normal school day. According to Christopherson, because teachers are still required to come into work, the Wayzata High School Professional Development Committee came up with the idea to allow teachers to venture out into real businesses to learn more about what post secondary options are available to students.
  “As a part of the Professional Development Committee, myself and several other teachers decided to reach out to businesses in the area and have teachers visit those businesses to gain insight into what kinds of qualities and skills employers are seeking in future applicants,” said Christopherson.
  “This will allow teachers to analyze their curriculum and hone in on what skills are important to pass onto students so they can have success after high school,” said Christopherson. The Professional Development Committee hopes these newfound relationships with businesses across Minnesota will allow for more classroom speakers and/or field trips, according to Christopherson. The committee deemed this concept “school to work.” “It’s important to inform teachers about the expectations of the real world so they can pass it on to their students. ‘School to work’ allows us to do just that,” said Christopherson.
  “We’re hopeful businesses such as Target, Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine, the FBI, Health East, The Bar Association, and the Department of Homeland Security will be just some of the businesses our teachers will have access to, but none of these companies are quite yet confirmed,” said Christopherson.
  According to Christopherson, one of the main goals of the program is to align and place teachers with the businesses that most relate to the courses they currently teach. “When teachers go to visit these companies, they will begin with a presentation of the business, a tour of the company and then at the end the posed case study,” said Christopherson.
  According to Christopherson, at the end of the visits, the Professional Development Committee will be asking members of the company to pose a real scenario or problem that has been worked on in the past. This will help teachers gain insight into scenarios students may encounter as employees at these businesses.
  “We want the teachers to work through the given scenario or problem. The teachers are going to hopefully bring the case study back here to the school and be able to use that material in class,” said Christopherson. The “school to work” concept will initially last two years alongside the speech tournament, maybe longer, depending on the program’s initial success, according to Christopherson.