IALR, SOVA RISE, SOVA Innovation Hub and Longwood University support grant-funded teaching of District C Teamship Model
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR), District C and the SOVA RISE Collaborative (led by the SOVA Innovation Hub and Longwood University) are teaming up to recruit Southern Virginia educators for a cutting-edge coaching program. Sixteen educators from across GO Virginia Region 3 will be selected to join the 2022 Winter/Spring District C Coaching Institute where they will discover how to prepare students for the modern world of work with a unique, work-based learning model.
The District C Coaching Institute (supported by IALR and SOVA RISE) is a professional development experience that empowers educators to bring Teamship, an equitable, team-based internship model, back to their classroom. In Teamship, students use skills in critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creative thinking and citizenship (known as the five C’s expected by the Virginia Department of Education) to solve a real problem for a local business. Teamship may be executed as part of a class, bringing valuable work-based learning to students and building their social capital by connecting them with real companies rather than case studies.
IALR has been implementing the Teamship model through their Next generation Of Work (NOW) program since Spring 2020. “Our first cohort was done completely virtually with our Academy for Engineering and Technology juniors. Despite knowing that they wouldn’t be graded on their participation (due to the pandemic), EVERY student stayed engaged with their team and business partner’s problem and presented their final pitch,” said Jessie Vernon, Advanced Learning at IALR.
Through just four cohorts, 62 students have worked with nine business partners. “With just a five-hour commitment from participating businesses, the potential for each business to work with up to 12 students… not to mention the ROI for businesses as students work to solve major pain points… we feel very strongly this is an amazing work-based learning model for our region,” said Vernon.
The 2022 Winter/Spring District C Coaching Institute will equip regional educators with the skills and tools they need to implement the Teamship model at their school. Each educator selected will receive a grant to cover the cost of their professional development, and each educator’s school will receive a grant to cover the cost for the first year of their membership to District C. The application deadline for the coaching institute is Dec. 14. Educators and businesses interested in more information may contact email@example.com.
IALR and the Academy for Engineering and Technology (AET) held the first ever virtual Next generation Of Work (NOW) program in April. Modeled after the District C program in North Carolina, NOW pairs student teams with area companies who pose a problem for the students to solve. Twenty-five local AET juniors participated, and three local companies, including Dewberry, Kyocera and Tyton BioSciences, served as the business partners.
“It’s a really unique way to provide students with a real life, work-based learning experience to solve complex problems in diverse teams,” said Jessie Vernon, IALR Program Coordinator. In addition to student benefits, the program also assists local businesses. It is a minimal time investment of up to five hours, and they receive viable solutions to their problem. The N.C. District C program reports that 93 percent of their business partners have implemented or plan to implement at least part of the solutions the students provided.
Students were first coached on the mindsets and tools needed to work collaboratively to solve their business problem. Students then met with their business partner to learn about their problem. From there, they had roughly four weeks to research, brainstorm and develop their plan, and received feedback from their business partner at the halfway point. Vernon, John Hatchett, AET Coordinator, and Dana Silicki, IALR Program Coordinator, who each completed 60+ hours of training with District C, served as team coaches and provided more frequent support to students. The final event consisted of a 10-minute presentation to the business partner highlighting their solution to the problem, followed by 15 minutes of discussion. Business partners provided real feedback to the students, and the students were also graded on their participation.
Students are taught four principal mindsets: Analytical, Design, Collective and Self-Aware. They are also taught how to use 12 different tools within these mindsets. “This is a very student-driven process,” Vernon said. “After being coached at the program launch on the four mindsets and most of the tools, the students set their own agendas and ideate on their own.”
IALR plans to run various implementations of the program moving forward. This is the first District C-modeled, partner program to be run outside of North Carolina.
“The pleasure and honor of this project was all mine. It is inspiring to see young people critically think like that,” said Jason Wells of Kyocera. “I found the time invested very worthwhile.”