Washington School District

The second round of industry tours for this year’s Pathways for Teachers Team is underway in the Washington School District.

This is the third year for the program, being funded through a state education grant.

Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer said the Pathways for Teachers program exposes teachers and administrators to industry to help them make quality connections between school and the ever-changing world.

The team has been divided into two groups for the tours. Last Wednesday, one of the groups visited Express Scripts and the St. Louis Carpenters Apprenticeship School, both in St. Louis.

The second group will tour the Cortex District, an innovation hub for tech and bioscience research, development and commercialization, and T-Rex, a co-working space and technology incubator, both in St. Louis, this Thursday.

Accompanying the team members last week were Assistant Superintendent Dr. Judy Straatmann and Four Rivers Career Center Director Andy Robinson.

“From my perspective, these were locations entirely new to us, so I appreciate Express Scripts and the Carpenters Apprenticeship School for having us,” said VanLeer. “The feedback I’ve received from staff that participated has been extremely positive. They appreciate the experience and really see connections they can make within the curriculum as we work to match our rigor with relevance in the classroom.”

At its kickoff in October, the team attended a special program and lunch at the Mercy South Medical Building and then toured GH Tool & Mold in Washington.

More industry tours are planned, as well as a debriefing and visioning session with all of the participants, followed by collaboration on lesson plans that integrate career awareness, exploration and relevance.

In the spring, the group will participate in a model schools tour.

Also planned is Project Based Learning through the Buck Institute or some teachers may participate in an externship with interested businesses followed by lesson planning/curriculum revision or project development time.

VanLeer said she’s thankful for the valued partnerships the district has developed with area businesses over the past two years through this program.

The strands of focus for the Pathways program are industrial, manufacturing and engineering; biosciences; business, technology and media; and human services.