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‘Externships’ pair teachers with businesses, connect classroom to workplace

Local businesses opened their doors to teachers from Burnsville High School this summer for an externship pilot project that connects classrooms to workplaces.  

This was a chance for teachers to spend time in local businesses and learn through direct experience about trends, skills requirements and the wide array of job opportunities in local industries.

“The knowledge and understanding teachers gain from this experience can enrich their teaching and add relevance to student learning,” said Kathy Funston, the district’s director of strategic partnerships and pathways. “This prepares teachers to share the WHY of what’s being taught, not just the what.”

Teachers visited businesses in each of the school’s four pathways:

  • Design, Engineering & Manufacturing Technologies: New Spaces and UTC Aerospace
  • Health Services and Human Services: Fairview Health Services
  • Business, Management & Entrepreneurship:  Premier Best Western
  • Arts, Global Communications & Information Systems: Cornerstone Copy Center

Another benefit of the exchanges is that relationships will be built that could result in new collaborations that will benefit student learning. Participating businesses are eager to share their expertise through guest speaking, providing tours to students, and working on video clips that highlight workplace skills, like communication and teamwork.

“We appreciate that local business were so willing to open their doors,” said Funston. “We look forward to expanding externships next year.”

She thanks the Burnsville Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Twin Cities United Way for their support of the externship program.

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Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 - 11:43