Executives teach by involving students
From hosting students as they perform in-depth research to imparting their skills and lessons learned in the classroom, businesses are integral to the Tech Valley High School student experience.
Each of the project-based lessons taught at TVHS relies on a partner from the business community who ensures students understand the relevance of what they are learning. This unprecedented collaboration between K-12 public schools, higher education, business, organized labor and government ensures that TVHS students are learning the 21st century skills necessary to succeed in the workplace and higher learning.
"With every project, our teachers find one way or another to tie it into the 'real world' with outside partners who tie it into things that are going on today," said junior Alex Cooper. "I think this is a great thing, and that if it isn’t being implemented in other schools, it should be. Comparing what you’re learning to something that is happening in the world gives you a new look on what you’re learning, and shows you that what you’re learning is important."
This partnership between the school and businesses also ensures the lessons taught at TVHS are constantly updated to remain relevant to the students, as well as current business trends. In addition, partnering with businesses benefits students by providing unique opportunities to visit and experiment real workplaces, as well as access leaders from all levels of society, said Principal Dan Liebert.
"These business and community partners make huge efforts every year to accommodate students and show them what particular careers they might be interested in, are really like," said Class of 2012 graduate Halle Prentice, from Scotia. "Without J-Term (January Term) I would still be considering a career in psychology, which I learned was not for me during my junior year’s J-Term."
"The amount of real world experience that we’re getting due to the generosity of our community and business partners is astounding," added Prentice.
During the 2011-12 school year, students interned at Albany Medical Center, worked with EYP on an engineering and design project, wrote stories for the Times Union and Altamont Enterprise through work-based learning experiences, created virtual dissections with local veterinarian Dr. Millicent Eidson and learned how to design video games with 1st Playable. And those are just a few of the dozens of interactions the students had with business leaders.
"The interaction with businesses is a great experience for these students to have. I wish all schools required it," said Linda Hill, principal economic developer for National Grid and a frequent visitor to TVHS.
In the photo, Momentive Performance Materials scientist Dr. Mary Krenceski explains the process behind the formation of a silicone to TVHS students while she visited TVHS in May. She guided the students through a lab in which teams of TVHS students created their own silicones with varying consistencies.