Article of Interest - Transition
Teachers step out
instructors working as interns hope to bring back new insights and
skills to the classroom
Jennifer K. Morita, Sacramento Bee, July 20, 2002
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
"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
"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
"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
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
Andreatta will work with program engineer Tony Cervone compiling and
editing a manufacturing manual for one of Hewlett-Packard's newest
"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
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