Best of the Week 2020-2021: Teaching to the Future
ST. ANDRE'S SCHOLARS PARTICIPATE IN HANDS-ON, SKILL-BUILDING INTERNSHIPS
AROUND THE SCHOOL
The St. Andre's Scholars Program at St. Edward High School seeks to make a quality Catholic Education available for students with moderate cognitive disabilities while strengthening the St. Edward community by embracing a more diverse range
of students. Scholars engage in a four-year language based course of study with a focus on career preparedness. In addition to other inclusion courses, the St. Andre's Scholars have been participating in a new in-house internship program this semester, learning different job skills with hands-on experience. "As a career readiness program, we're always looking for new ways to expand the St. Andre's Scholars Program," says Renee Zorger, Director of the St. Andre's Scholars Program. "We tried this internship program with one student last year and had great success, so we wanted to replicate the program for all our upperclassman scholars."
As part of their Career Studies course that aims to give scholars a variety of work experiences to help them discern careers to pursue after graduation, the internship program allows students to work with faculty and staff members to learn different job skills that can be applied to various workplaces. This semester, students have been working with professionals in the Green & Gold Bookstore, at the front desk/receptionist area and cafeteria in the Commons, with our Maintenance Team as well as the Br. Andre Place Food Pantry with Campus Ministry. Students have learned many skills from changing the oil in St. Ed's service vans and stocking procedures for the food pantry, to hospitality skills like answering phones and assisting customers, math skills essential for inventory and using cash registers, and the importance of presentation skills in the culinary and merchandising industries.
"Initially, we were looking to have the students placed in the Lakewood community for these internships, but with COVID restrictions, we turned inward and found many different opportunities for them to learn about different jobs right here on St. Ed's campus," says Mrs. Zorger. "Students are each assigned to one internship for the quarter and will rotate jobs each quarter throughout the year. There are other departments willing to host students as well that we will incorporate as the year progresses. We are hopeful to make this a permanent component for the St. Andre's Scholar curriculum for students in their junior year and transitioning them to jobs in the community for senior year."