Preparing students with the knowledge to graduate takes great teachers; preparing them for life beyond graduation “takes a village.” Effective STEM programs enjoy the support and partnership of outside organizations across the community: universities, community colleges, businesses, hospitals, government agencies. While partners may support the school financially or in-kind, the unique value they offer to students is the opportunity to learn from adults in the world of work, where they engage with real math, science and engineering. Work-based learning experiences can include site visits to companies or colleges, guest speakers on campus, tutoring, mentoring, job shadowing and internships. All of these demonstrate to students the relevance of their coursework and engage their ambitions for life and work.
Partnerships expand beyond the local. Players like the Gates Foundation, the National Governors Association, the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) and a number of prominent corporations are working in collaboration with districts and with each other as they develop STEM initiatives. Their networking enables them not only to share innovations, but also positions them to expand local successes and best practices to a broader, nation-wide platform.
Much of the learning experience at Health Professions High takes place off-site. Hospital tours, mentoring and internships are available through healthcare partners including Kaiser, Mercy, Shriners, Sutter and UC Davis Medical Center. Area Colleges and Universities like Stanford and Sacramento State also extend use of their resources and facilities to broaden the learning experience of these high school STEM students.
Aviation High School also avails itself of community resources that enrich the program and connect its students to the broader world. Boeing Field and the Museum of Flight provide nearby resources for teaching and hands-on experiences. Students are granted access to Seattle/Tacoma International Airport as well, where they go behind-the-scenes to learn more about complex jobs and functions that take place in this aviation center. This allows them to discover connections between their course study and its real-world applications in their own backyard.