Two times a week, seniors in Atlantis’s Career Academies pack up their belongings and head off to their spring internships.
Atlantis staff spent months lining up internships of interest to seniors, as well as rides for those students who need transportation. Many of the internships are in Fall River and adjoining communities, but one aspiring engineer travels to Cranston, Rhode Island each week to intern at a casting company.
Internship placements include the Business and Innovation Center, South Coast Autism Center, Kids Dental Care, Chase Farm Veterinary Hospital, and BankFive. Students in the Teacher Development Academy stay on campus, working at Atlantis with teachers in grades K-7.
Students leave class at 12:30 on Tuesdays and Fridays to go to their internships and work for 2-3 hours each day depending on the work site. Most students will have at least six weeks to explore and learn as much about the jobs available in their respective career fields.
“The sooner we can get students exposed to and immersed in a career field the better,” said Dr. Gail Berman-Martin, co-director of Atlantis’s Career Academy Program. “This early exposure allows students to see what a career is really like, and it can help them choose a college major. They may love the experience, or decide the career is not for them, but either way it’s better for students to figure that out now while they’re in high school.”
Berman hopes these internships will create new opportunities for students. The internship could lead to a part-time job for the summer, or through college, or students could find a mentor to advise them as they transition to college and then a career.
There are 63 students in the Class of 2019, and Berman says they were able to place more than 80 percent in internships. She considers that a great achievement. Last year, transportation was a major roadblock to placement, but this year Atlantis is providing transportation to students who need it so that every student who wants to do an internship has a way of getting there.
Students not placed in internships are participating in other experiential learning activities. For example, an artist came to Atlantis to work on projects with students in the Arts, Culture and Design Academy, and some students in the Health, Med-Tech and Sports Medicine Academy unable to participate in a traditional internship due to HIPAA laws were exposed to “observationships” and job shadowing opportunities.
“Experiential learning is part and parcel with any good educational experience,” Berman explained. “Our goal is to prepare our students for college and career and educate them in the best way possible. The internships benefit students by providing them with a real-world work experience, but employers also benefit because they get a chance to see up-and-coming talent.”
Supervisors are able to track students’ attendance online and will fill out a final evaluation when the internship is complete. Each week, the student interns have a one-hour class at Atlantis that the can use to reflect on their internship experience. Students will be graded on their supervisors evaluation, their reflections, and the work they did at the beginning of the semester prior to the start of the internship.
Read more next month, when we profile Atlantis senior Benjamin Boule and learn about his internship experience at BankFive!