Earlier this week, Director of the Iowa Department of Education McKenzie Snow and Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend along with several other educational dignitaries were at Southeast Polk High School. The event, coordinated by Darell Butcher, the SEP PK-12 College and Career Readiness Coordinator, allowed them to hear from and ask questions of the SEP high school students, staff and many of the local businesses/organizations SEP works with on the district’s work-based learning pre-apprenticeship, registered apprenticeship programs and internships.
Work-based learning is gaining momentum as a crucial component of high school education. It bridges the gap between classroom instruction and real-world application, equipping students with valuable skills and experiences. Southeast Polk is on board with this important initiative, realizing that it starts in elementary school and culminates in high school. One of the most exciting aspects of work-based learning is the opportunity for high school students to showcase their newfound knowledge and skills through presentations. These presentations not only provide a platform for students to shine but also highlight the effectiveness of work-based learning programs in preparing students for the workforce.
Currently, Southeast Polk High School offers:
While the entire presentation was informative, the highlight of the event was the Southeast Polk High School students who shared their experiences in their areas of expertise:
Karson Green – Diesel Mechanic Apprentice
Karson is in a 3-year paid internship program with Trivista and plans on making Trivista his lifelong career.
Emily Waddle – Health Occupations Academy – Nurse Aide
Emily is planning on attending the University of Iowa to become a doctor.
Cael Julander – Rise Class
Cael plans on going to college for business.
Conner Trexel – School To Work Transition/Experience-Based Career Education
Conner wants to work at Fireside Grille.
Congratulations to our students for a job well done. We look forward to watching as you continue on your journey!
Joining the students were our real-world-experienced teachers: Melissa Hansen – Health Occupational Academy, Chelsey Sadler – Business, Angela Duden – Special Education and Taylor Brittain – Agriculture. Not available to be there was Joe Phillips, Industrial Technology Teacher. Karson shared that part of what makes this all so successful is the support he’s felt from Phillips.
We are pleased, that as a district, we are able to offer these amazing opportunities to our students giving them the chance to earn, learn, gain hands-on experience, and develop critical skills in a real-world setting. Our programs are designed to empower our students to become job-ready and career-focused, making them valuable contributors to the workforce as they transition from high school to post-secondary education or employment.
We’re thankful that the Department of Education chose Southeast Polk and provided opportunities to showcase our students! As we continue to embrace work-based learning programs, we look forward to more SEP students gaining experiential learning, preparing as the next workforce generation and taking confident steps toward fulfilling careers.