Sunday, December 31, 2017

7 Ways to Partner with Businesses & Other Lessons from @Puhsd_PCA

Principal Seth Beute addresses tech leaders
at the Phoenix Coding Academy
The Phoenix Coding Academy is an innovative school in Arizona that partners with businesses to ensure students are prepared to enter a  job market where technology skills are a basic requirement. This is critically important because employment opportunities in technology-related careers are growing at a faster rate than other industries.

A group of ed tech leaders from around the country had the opportunity to visit the school and see what works first hand as part of the Tech & Learning Leadership Summit in Arizona.  Here's what they learned.

Seven Ways to Partner with Businesses

Principal Seth Beute explained seven ways the school successfully partners with businesses. This includes providing:
  1. Job shadowing opportunities
  2. Mentorships to all students
  3. Internships for seniors
  4. Guest instructors
  5. Field trips
  6. Serve on advisory councils where they provide an input on the curriculum and ways it can be aligned to the skills needed to work in technology fields
  7. Support at community events showcasing the school

Develop Talent from Underrepresented Populations

These businesses also realize the need to develop more talent from underrepresented groups. Partnering with a community school helps them meet that challenge. Students at the school explained some ways businesses attract these groups to careers involving technology.
  1. Go where these populations are and show them what is available.
  2. Show these students that tech careers are reachable for them.
  3. Connect students to a learning network of others who look like them who are successful in this industry.

Student-Center Academic Approach

During the tour, visiting tech leaders had the opportunity to see the school’s student-centered academic approach. This starts with ensuring everyone in the school is familiar with the strengths of the students and staff. They do this by prominently posting the students strength profiles using a tool called Indigo (similar to Thrively aka Myers Briggs for young people) as a constant reminder of the collective talent & intelligence that surrounds and supports students and staff. Educators and students can use these profiles to customize their school work to ensure what they do best matches the needs indicated in their learning profiles. The profiles also help students see the type of career that might be best matched to their strengths.

Bullying Be Gone

So, what happens when you gather a whole bunch of self-proclaimed geeks together? The students shared that the geek-factor that brought them together is one that in their middle school settings often led to them being the target of bullying. However, this common interest in high school has helped to build a community of like-minded individuals who support and collaborate with one another. As a result, bullying is not a big problem at the high school.

A Leg Up On Peers

Students explained the value they recognized in attending a school that helps them get an early start on the career they will pursue after high school or college. They said they felt with the exposure to the course work and businesses that they were in a school that placed them far ahead of the game because they didn’t have to waste time taking classes that don’t align to their future goals.

Your Turn

So what do you think? Do you incorporate any of these ideas where you work? If so, which ones? If not, could you?

1 comment:

  1. We moved so that our son could attend this phenomenal school. He is part of the founding class, and is continually surprising us with his knowledge and skill. He is happy and motivated for his future in college and the technology industry!