County internship program raises standards for students

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Montgomery County Public high schools are making changes to their Career Pathway and Internship programs in order to comply with new state laws and ensure that all of the high schools are operating similarly.

Maryland recently created new laws regarding the College and Career Research and Development program (CCRD), which must be followed by any school that wishes to receive funding for the program. In addition, MCPS schools have independently altered their internship program curriculums in order to create a more consistent syllabus. Internship coordinators are still holding collaborative discussions about the changes to the program, yet administrators are planning to implement them in the 2011-2012 year.

“The internship program should prepare students for an increasingly career driven world,” CHS internship coordinator Barbara Blazer said. “The adjustments to the course are geared towards students who think they can slack off by adding an internship to their schedule.”

Changes to the CCRD program will include two credits from an in-school class, which will be a prerequisite for the on-site program that students take their senior year. This class will teach the students how to research, communicate professionally and hone specific skills pertinent to their career such as financial literacy skills. While the students are in their senior year, they will participate in a site-based work program along with a concurrent seminar class in which the students share their workplace experiences. 

According to the 2010-2011 MCPS high school course bulletin, the internship program should complement the student’s school curriculum and consist of “regularly scheduled in-school seminars which explore career and workplace issues.”

Administrators are trying to implement higher grading standards for the internship program so that seniors do not look at it as a partial schedule or easy way out. MCPS administrators are still working together to enhance ideas for the program while keeping in mind that most students also have to fit in time for extracurricular activities. The idea of the internship program is to add experience to a student’s resume, not take away from their free time.

“The main goal for both of these programs is to document the experience of the students and develop a well -rounded student,” MCPS Career and Postsecondary Partnerships specialist Rhonda Dillard said.