What's So Different about a Generation School?

New Generation Schools Network associate, Brittney Ames, shares her perspective on a Community Engagement Team meeting at West Generation Academy.

This morning I, along with other business professionals, had the opportunity to attend the West Generation Academy College and Career Intensive presentations at West Generation Academy.  Business professionals were there because they helped to develop the projects and field trips that the students took during this month long course.  The meeting provided a chance to hear from the Intensives teachers and students about their experiences learning about different career paths in professional fields like health and wellness, energy, recreation and small business. It was inspiring to hear about the field trips and opportunities the students had to explore professions in these areas both in and out of the classroom.

I was struck by how engaged the students were, how excited they were about the new opportunities available to them, and how passionate the teachers were about their new role as a College & Career Intensive teacher.  An Intensive teacher is a unique position that combines teacher, coach, project manager and community liaison. All teachers expressed a passion with their area of focus and the ability to draw upon their strengths, skills, and previous experiences.

Each student emphasized their favorite aspect of these Intensives was getting to leave the typical classroom, going on multiple field trips to companies and organizations that have salaried positions in their field of interest. It was so much fun to hear about their new found interests. One student had never played golf before, thought it was boring. However, after visiting a golf course and playing 9 holes, he found a new hobby and possible career path. Another group of female students explained the origins of ethanol and how it can fuel cars, creating much excitement in their teacher and the audience as possible future female engineers! These presentations demonstrated the need for students to branch outside the classroom to explore real world application of what their academic knowledge.

Generation Schools Network is helping to close the opportunity gap for low-income and minority students - one Intensive at a time!

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