Strictly business: Cocalico looks to merge student, real life experiences

By on March 1, 2017
Cocalico school board member Douglas Graybill holds a portrait given to him by Cocalico Middle School staff. Middle school students drew portraits of each member. Photo by Kimberly Marselas

Cocalico school board member Douglas Graybill holds a portrait given to him by Cocalico Middle School staff. Middle school students drew portraits of each member. Photo by Kimberly Marselas

Cocalico High School will offer three new classes and an honors internship opportunity next school year.

Principal Chris Irvine shared the news at a school board meeting Monday, Feb. 27. The new classes-Advanced Placement computer science A, Advanced Placement microeconomics and a seminar that teaches job placements skills like interviewing-are included in the 2017-18 educational planning guide.

For the first time, the guide includes five pathways that can help students select classes that support their professional and higher education goals. Courses for each pathway are designated by an icon throughout the guide’s class description section.

The pathways include: arts and communications; business/information management and marketing; engineering/industrial and technological sciences; health and natural resource sciences; and human and family services.

The pathways match with Naviance, a Web-based service guidance counselors, students and their families already use to investigate specific career interests.

The new internship opportunity would also allow seniors to explore their long-term goals, Irvine said. Created with the Cocalico/Ephrata Consortium, the program would match selected seniors with local companies looking for hands-on help.

Students in the one-semester course would be graded in part on monthly evaluations by the employers.

Irvine said business recruitment so far “hasn’t been great.”

“We’re still looking for businesses,” he told the board.

In a brief phone interview Tuesday, Feb. 28, Irvine said ideal businesses should be in or near Cocalico to limit student travel. Hours and days students work would be flexible, and students and businesses will work together to design an internship plan.

Business teacher Lyndon Engle would oversee student assignments, including journal entries and a portfolio that represents the work they complete for the employer.

Interested employers can contact Irvine at cirvine@cocalico.org or call the office at 336-1423.

Irvine said the new classes mean sections of some existing business courses with low enrollment will be limited. But Superintendent Dr. Ella Musser said the new opportunities match suggestions from a student advisory group she has been meeting with this school year.

In other news, several teachers and students presented the board with an update on the district’s 1:1 computer program. Known as Mission Inspire, the program assigns each student with a tablet or laptop for use at home and school.

The presentation included examples of how students are using their new technology day-to-day, ranging from music lessons to reading stations and coding classes.

In conjunction with School Director Recognition Month, staff also presented the board with library books donated in their honor, pottery made in high school art classes and individual portraits drawn by middle school art students.

On the back of each portrait is a photo of the student working on the drawing.

“I hope you will appreciate them,” Musser said. “I think our students did a great job.”

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