Teachers’ Real-World Experience Brings Real-Life Benefits to Students

August 2016

Twelve teachers had a summer filled with learning and scholarship, through the School District of Palm Beach County and the Palm Beach County STEM Education Council’s Externship Program. The teachers took part in month-long paid externships, acquiring experience in fields that they can take back to their classrooms.

photo.pngTwelve teachers had a summer filled with learning and scholarship, through the School District of Palm Beach County and the Palm Beach County STEM Education Council’s Externship Program. The teachers took part in month-long paid externships, acquiring experience in fields that they can take back to their classrooms.

Modeled after a similar effort in Iowa, the extern program is an innovative idea from the Palm Beach County STEM Education Council, which is comprised of local businesses, representatives from local colleges and universities, as well as community members and district employees. The program has grown in its second year and hopes to further expand with more businesses in 2017.

Following completion of their externships, the teachers shared their experiences with their peers at presentations in joint sessions at two important back-to-school conferences. On August 10, Mathematics teachers gathered at Santaluces Community High and Science teachers convened at Boynton Beach High School on August 11.

Rebecca Blair, a teacher at Inlet Grove Community High School in Riviera Beach, was assigned to work at Wellington Regional Medical Center, collecting, recording and analyzing data related to patient admissions, triage, scheduled procedures and nurse-patient ratios.

“I gained a wealth of knowledge regarding current nursing services, unit structure and flow, multidisciplinary collaboration, as well as knowledge related to a work dynamic unique to my background,” Blair said. “Many skills and experiences that I encountered as a STEM extern have given me realization of today’s health care setting and what students need to know.”

Carly Littles, a teacher at Jupiter Community High School, worked at Florida Power and Light’s Reliability Assurance Center Testing Laboratories alongside electrical and metallurgical engineers. The assignment gave her valuable insight into the advanced comprehensive research, analysis, testing, engineering and field services for FPL and NextEra Energy.

“This externship was an amazing opportunity to gain real-world experiences to bring back to my classroom,” Littles said. “I got to develop professionally and personally, continue my quest of being a life-long learner, and make classroom learning more relevant.”

Special thanks to the following companies who employed the teachers during the 2016 STEM Externship Program:

Aerojet Rocketdyne

  • Oscar Martinez – Glades Central Community High School

Florida Crystals

  • Lindsay Hayes – Spanish River Community High School

FPL Manatee Lagoon

  • Natalie DelloBuono – Jupiter Community High School

Lockheed Martin

  • Darin Evans – Lake Worth Community High School

NextEra Energy Resources

  • Carly Littles – Jupiter Community High School
  • Glen Marr – Park Vista Community High School
  • Thyme Salemme – Palm Beach Central High School

South Florida Science Center and Aquarium

  • Richard Semmelmeier – Park Vista Community High School

Wellington Regional Medical Center

  • Rebecca Blair – Inlet Grove Community High School
  • Margarette Marturano – Seminole Ridge Community High School
  • Ashley Rawls – Seminole Ridge Community High School
  • Sarah Rew – Olympic Heights Community High School

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