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Last Updated: 11/20/2017
 

 Article of Interest - Transition
Teachers step out Roseville Union instructors working as interns hope to bring back new insights and skills to the classroom by Jennifer K. Morita, Sacramento Bee, July 20, 2002
 
Culinary arts teacher Susie McGuire was barely five minutes into her summer internship at Kelli's Cookies when she saw something she says will revolutionize the student-run cafe at Woodcreek High School in Roseville.

"I found out they use scales to make their bulk recipes, instead of measuring cups and spoons," McGuire said, watching one of the bakers sift flour into a large mixing bowl for gingerbread cookies. "Our school is going to get a scale now. This is why I'm here. I'm learning so much that I can teach the kids."

More than 20 Roseville Joint Union High School teachers will spend part of the summer working at internships as part of a new program to bring real-world skills into the classroom.

After four years of building an internship program for students, district officials decided to spend roughly $20,000 of a $2 million federal grant to put teachers out in the local business community.

"The grant gave us the opportunity to take a look outside the box. We came up with the idea of providing teachers with real-world experiences," said Steven Lawrence, assistant superintendent of curriculum and assessment.

"It gives teachers the opportunity to learn some things that will allow them to reflect on their curriculum and think, 'Am I doing a good job in creating pathways for these students if they choose to go this route? Is there something I'm not emphasizing that would be a good skill for them to learn?' "

Teachers will spend up to two weeks working in television studios, print shops, restaurants, nature preserves and major corporations before heading back to the classroom later this summer.

After only three days at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Woodcreek High School science teacher Kendra Grinsell said she has already learned some valuable lessons while helping a park ranger give guided tours to kindergarten and third-grade students.

"I've always worked with high school kids and seeing the younger guys out on the trail, I realized there's only so much information you can give them before they don't care anymore. And if it's too hot, they can't handle it," Grinsell said.

Next year, Grinsell and her students will be creating a nature center on 75 acres of preserved wetlands behind the campus.

"Our goal is to have our high school kids become the nature center docents and take elementary kids out to our area and teach them the same things that park rangers do at Effie Yeaw," Grinsell said. "It's given me a good idea of what our high school kids need to do to be able to take elementary kids out there."

Grinsell also spent a few days following an environmentalist with ECORP Consultants, a wetlands restoration firm.

"She took me through different preserves and showed me the things we can and can't do, what type of plants we can plant, where we can plant them, how close they can be to the trails and vernal pools," Grinsell said.

"I've been in this district for 15 years and this is the first time we've had an opportunity like this. This is the first time they've said, 'We want you to get out in the real world, and we're going to pay you to do it.' "

In many ways, Oakmont High School teacher Kim Richards and the students who run Viking Printing Press have been immersed in the real world of small business for several years.

In addition to printing teaching materials, district mailers and course catalogs, students can also design and manufacture plaques and mugs.

Last year Viking Printing Press billed $20,000 in jobs, and with business booming, Richards knows she and the students are going to have to expand soon.

"If our demand keeps rising, which we think it will, I want to know what we'll need in terms of equipment," Richards said. "Although that may be a little ways down the road, I wanted to see what kind of equipment other printers are using.

"But if anything, we're hoping this will affirm that what we're teaching our students is going to be applicable and that what we set up really mirrors what's happening out in the community."

Mark Andreatta, a history teacher at Roseville High School, just started his two-week stint at Hewlett-Packard.

"I have several acquaintances who work at HP, and they're always saying what a great place it is to work there," Andreatta said. "I wanted to find out why ... There's not a big correlation between working on the computer and teaching history. But I'm hoping to get a sense of what their corporate community is like, how it's different from the academic world and try to bring some of that into the classroom."

Andreatta will work with program engineer Tony Cervone compiling and editing a manufacturing manual for one of Hewlett-Packard's newest products.

"Hopefully when all is said and done, Mark will have learned a lot about Hewlett-Packard and I'll have a finished document," Cervone said. "I don't think we can lose with this. Even if he does a lousy job, HP has made a new friend."

And for Kelli Ridenour, owner and founder of Kelli's Cookies in Sacramento, having McGuire spend a few days learning the cookie trade isn't just about getting free labor. "I thought it was a great idea," Ridenour said. "I'd like to share my knowledge with other people and help them learn the tricks of the trade that I had to figure out on my own."
 
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