Becoming IT Professionals

Strong relationships with local academy partners is the key to building effective business engagement in our high schools. The Academies of Nashville provide students with meaningful, hands-on learning in context through unique partnerships with local businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. The Teacher Team Externship Program gives teachers an opportunity to have a real-world professional experience at a host organization to develop a project-based curriculum that gives students industry exposure and applied learning. Teachers from Stratford STEM Magnet High School had the opportunity to have an externship with their business partner, the Nashville Software School.   

Six Stratford STEM Magnet High School teachers from the Academy of National Safety and Security Technologies computer gaming pathway participated in teacher externship at Nashville Software School where they met with IT professionals from around Nashville.

After talking with numerous business partners, we concluded that 21st century skills are what set students up for success in the interview process. We began backwards planning with these goals in mind:

  • Allow for self-reflection and self-awareness so that students are confident in their ability to sell themselves as competent, capable, and collaborative professionals
  • Give practical experience in real-world situations
  • Provide an opportunity to practice presenting projects during the first semester to prepare for higher-stakes competitions in the second semester (e.g. PBL Expo)
  • Incorporate business partners and community to provide advice and provide authenticity to the roleplaying process

Our Driving Question is “How can we leverage student outcomes with Career and Technical Education work for college and career preparation.” Our Culminating Activity is going to be a mock job fair where students will use a portfolio of class work and projects to interview with “employers” (role-played by business partners, community members, and parents) and graded on a presentation rubric. We are tentatively set for Thursday, December 4th, so that students can demonstrate their work from throughout the first semester.

Students will assemble projects (formative assessments) from the first quarter and develop more projects from the second quarter in order to develop an e-portfolio of sample work to demonstrate collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication. Students will develop a resume and cover letter in order to explain how their experience and artifacts demonstrate each of the 4 Cs of 21st-century skills.