Sup Scoop- Making Connections Part II

Sup Scoop- Making Connections Part II
Posted on 02/03/2020
Sup Scoop

Making Connections...Part Two


A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of connections - from volunteers in school, to student teachers, to the school board. This week’s topic is about continuing to build those connections, albeit in a slightly different sense. 


On Tuesday, February 4, our 9th and 10th-grade students have an incredible opportunity. While public education provides a wealth of opportunity in and of itself (rigorous academics by day infused with extracurriculars, not to mention the social aspect), we have an opportunity before us on Tuesday to provide our students a rare glimpse into what they can look forward to as working adults. Our BEA freshmen and sophomores will be loading buses that will take them directly into the commerce of our very own communities. Small groups of students will be touring local businesses and having a chance to speak with our esteemed professionals, right here in the Blue Earth Area. What’s even better is that these stops to local businesses are not random or by chance - they are all based on the individual student’s interest. 


Back in the early fall, our 9th and 10th graders took a short survey to show us the types of careers in which they hold an interest. Based on those survey results, these same students had the opportunity to partake in a “lunch and learn” at the high school. Local professionals came into the school and had a chance to visit with these students, based on their careers of interest, all over a delicious catered lunch. Talk about a wealth of knowledge coming into our high school and enriching the lives of our students! That day, students were able to speak with professionals from two different career fields and start to make local connections.


This Tuesday, those local connections continue, only this time, we take the students out into the communities. One of the most exciting parts of this experience is that it is being made possible by more than 20 local businesses who are setting aside their duties to enrich the lives of our BEA students. Let me repeat that - more than 20 local businesses are putting a complete halt to a full day of work to work hand in hand with our schools, all in the name of building connections with our students and showing them the vast opportunities we have right here in our local communities. 


At a time when public schools feel the pressure to personalize learning and expose students to the trades, this opportunity could not have been better timed. Day in and day out, BEA works tirelessly to educate and expose our students to all the opportunities in all fields, and might I add we do it quite well. I’m incredibly proud of the fact we have a plethora of full-time Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, including Ag, Business, FACS, and Industrial Technology - all of which showcase a wide variety of industries curricula and courses. However, we know we cannot reach every student alone. We know we need the assistance of local businesses and partnerships to make sure no student graduates without seeing every opportunity laid out before her/him. This is why I’m simply humbled by the fact that so many of our community businessmen and businesswomen are willing to take a time out on their own work to help us educate our youth. 


All of this simply wouldn’t be possible without a few other connections that have been made along the way. Thanks to the tireless work of Rural Entrepreneurial Venture (REV) gurus Mary Kennedy, Annie Leibel, and Emily Lange, the day is made possible. And, a special thanks to Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) for providing REV with a Small Town Grant in the amount of $7,500 to pay for these opportunities! With these opportunities come cost - lunch, transportation, substitute teachers, and more - and the grant has made this all possible. 


Did I mention that our students will be touring five - that’s right, FIVE - businesses in one day? Who knows what may come of this day - future apprenticeships, internships, employment, or perhaps even one day, a future owner of said business. To steal a line from Casablanca and tweak it a bit, “Blue Earth Area and local businesses, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”


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