MCC excited for next summer after successful STEM teacher externship

High school teachers work through a “patient’s” (simulation dummy) symptoms during externship exercises on June 13.

Plans are underway to repeat a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teacher externship model that was launched this summer by the Career Education Consortium (CEC) in conjunction with Metropolitan Community College and Missouri Career Pathways.

The teachers were “thrilled” by the opportunity, says Linda Washburn, director of the CEC. “It exceeded their expectations.”

The three-day metrowide externship collaboration in June answered a growing demand from biomedical education professionals. Twelve high school teachers from seven regional school districts benefited from hands-on coursework at MCC-Penn Valley Health Science Institute (HSI), Children’s Mercy Hospital and Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence. All but one were teachers of Project Lead the Way biomedical courses; one teaches health.

Project Lead The Way is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S.

The teachers raved about the hands-on opportunity. Jennifer Daubendiek, who oversees Project Lead the Way in the Fort Osage district, said that “being able to give (students) that knowledge that this is what it would be like” is invaluable.

Washburn says the focus of the externship is “primarily to make sure these teachers know the training students need” to function well in the biomedical workforce.

“Classroom teachers are better able to prepare students if they are exposed to the developing skills used in the corporate world. Externships give frontline STEM teachers a real-world authentic perspective.”

Roger Massey, surgical technology instructor at HSI, said, “I believe teachers walked away with a better perception for hands-on, real-life training. And this can only be accomplished with interactive lab sessions for our students.”

At HSI, teachers received a firsthand perspective on surgical technology, EMS and dental assisting, including direct interaction with the college’s simulation patients. Day two was spent at Children’s Mercy Hospital, touring the Genome Center and shadowing patients. And during the last day at Centerpoint, the teachers shadowed multiple departments and watched a live radiation treatment.

Washburn says the CEC is working to involve other locations for study in 2018 and teachers are already eager to participate.

The externship is funded through a $10,000 Missouri Career Pathways grant, courtesy of the state’s Department of Secondary and Elementary Education.

About the Career Education Consortium: 

The Career Education Consortium (CEC) was established in 2001 as a collaborative partnership between six diverse school districts and the Kansas City Metro Area community college district:

  • Center School District #58
  • Grandview C-4 School District
  • Hickman Mills C-1 School District
  • Independence #30 School District
  • Lee’s Summit R-VII School District
  • Raytown C-2 School District
  • Metropolitan Community College

Its mission is to provide all students with information about, access to and preparation for quality career opportunities.

About Missouri Career Pathways:

Missouri was one of twelve states selected by the Harvard Graduate School of Education(link is external) and Jobs for the Future to participate in the Pathways to Prosperity Network, a national education initiative designed to build career pathways systems for high-school-aged students.

About Project Lead the Way:

Project Lead the Way (PTLW) creates engaging, hands-on classroom environments and empowers students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills they need to thrive. PTLW also provides teachers with the training, resources, and support they need to engage students in real-world learning.