School To Career lets teachers
HEBER — Teachers, those responsible for
opening the world to their students, have a chance to
experience a little more of that world for themselves under
the School To Career teacher internship program.
School To Career, funded by a federal
grant and operated through the Imperial County Regional
Occupational Program, provides several services mainly to the
Heber School District, Calexico and Aurora high schools,
William Moreno Junior High and Mains Elementary. Aurora,
Moreno and Mains are all in Calexico.
In the two years this STC program has
operated, about 35 teachers have taken part in STC-sponsored
teacher internships. Under the program, participating teachers
spend 20 hours working with an organization or business of
their choosing, learning and experiencing another profession.
Usually done during breaks in the school year, teachers
receive $300 from STC for their work.
"The purpose is to give teachers work
experience outside the classroom," said STC Coordinator
The teacher internships are similar to
student internships, Harrold said. Just as students see how
what they learn in school is used in the workplace, teachers
can "take what they learn at their internships back to the
classroom and incorporate it into the curriculum," Harrold
Heber School second-grade teacher Mike
Arzaga chose to do an internship with Imperial Irrigation
District hydrographer Kyle Bryant. The choice seemed a good
one, partly because Arzaga was interested in Bryant's job and
also because Heber's second-grade curriculum includes lessons
on the water cycle.
After his first eight-hour shift
Saturday, Arzaga already recognized several skills Bryant
needs on the job that he can teach his students.
Bryant works on the All-American Canal,
controlling the amount of water being diverted into lateral
canals. Though he spends much of his shift alone, Arzaga said
he noticed how much teamwork Bryant and his co-workers use
when Bryant runs into zanjeros in the field and during his
frequent calls to the water division's
"To be a good employee, you have to have
good teamwork," Arzaga said.
Also integral is responsibility, Arzaga
said. If Bryant were to get off task, too much water could be
released or a farmer might not receive his water at the right
Arzaga watched Bryant use critical
thinking and math skills to effectively perform his
Though the world of a hydrographer is far
removed from that of your average 7-year-old, lessons of
teamwork, responsibility and critical thinking can be taught
to second-graders now to prepare them for work later, Arzaga
Participating teachers have interned in
places ranging from the El Centro water and sewer plant to the
Calexico Chamber of Commerce. No matter where they go, the
experiences always leave an impression.
"Work experiences are really, really
powerful," Harrold said.
>> Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be
reached at 337-3441.