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Why Have An Internship Program?

Maria Montessori’s wisdom about the adolescent revolved around her observation of their need for meaningful work. She encouraged educators to get students outside the classroom and into appropriate adult experiences as much as possible during adolescence. As one way to put her wisdom into practice, all students in the Secondary Program at NewGate experience an internship for one week every year.

The faculty at NewGate School works to guide each student to choose a meaningful internship that presents him/her with an opportunity to take advantage of local community resources and a chance to work with positive role models and community experts. As a form of independent study, students enjoy the opportunity to engage in a learning experience that enhances classroom learning and extends beyond the traditional four walls of the classroom.

An internship is an excellent tool for testing out a career interest and giving students first-hand knowledge of a particular professional field. Adolescents gain real-world experience while learning how to conduct themselves in a professional workplace environment. They observe firsthand how skills related to decision-making, problem-solving, teamwork, and technology are employed on the job. Students report that an internship helps them to value themselves and their abilities, gain confidence, and reflect more on their future. Moreover, an internship experience can help when the time comes to:

Apply to colleges or technical school —students can detail their experiences in their application essays. select a college major—the opportunity to investigate a possible career choice permits more informed decisions.

Seek an interesting job—an internship can help one secure references for future jobs and may open up opportunities for stimulating summer work. By the time students graduate from NewGate, they have participated in six different internships. The internship experiences grow more sophisticated as a student matures from a young adolescent of 12 to a young adult of 18. Overall, the internship experience is a highlight and a hallmark of our Secondary Program.

What Is Involved In The Secondary Internship Program?

Pre-Internship Week:

Finding and Securing a Placement

NewGate provides students and their families with a list of area organizations that NewGate students have worked with successfully in past years, in addition to other organizations in the area that may take students for internships. Students and parents review the list to generate ideas for organizations that would be a good fit for them.

If a student has a desire to work somewhere that is not already on the list, he/she gets approval from the faculty to pursue placement at the given organization. Middle school students pursue their internships locally, while high school students who want to travel outside the city or state for their internships can develop a proposal in writing to gain faculty approval.

Students develop a list of their top choices for placement and detail why they are interested in the organization and what they hope to get out of the experience. The faculty, student, and parents then begin working to find a host for the student at the chosen organizations.

Preparation Workshops

Students continue to prepare for their placement by spending time in workshops with faculty and visiting professionals for resume writing, business letters, interviewing, thank-you letters, and professional etiquette while on the job.

During Internship Week:

Parents and/or student drivers are responsible for the transportation arrangements to and from the host organization.

Students complete all appropriate tasks as requested at the placement.

Students write a personal reflection about their work each day.

A NewGate faculty member visits each student at his/her host organization at least one time throughout the week.
Post-Internship Week

Students write and send thank-you cards to their host organizations.

Students write a review of their internship experiences for the Internship binder. These reviews are a resource for students the following year during the placement search.

Students prepare a portfolio of their internship experience that includes all the work from before, during, and after the internship experience: placement ideas; resume; interviewing notes; business letters; thank-you notes; daily reflections; pictures of the work experience; the review, etc.

Students share their experiences and new knowledge in oral presentations to the rest of the school community.

Tomorrow’s Child/ November 2017/ Pg 30