A mission to have all students college or career ready seems daunting in a district of over 36,000 students. It requires planning and commitment to provide resources, opportunities, and programs designed for all students. For educators, they know every student will not travel the same path, and in CMCSS, teams of professionals work together to create valuable experiences for students.
For the past five years, the CMCSS Operations Department has partnered with Special Populations to create a specially designed internship program. The internship allows students in the CDC program, who are able and willing to work, an opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge they need to be marketable in employment areas.
During the school year, students take an assessment to determine their strengths and find a suitable placement. In previous years, this included participation in both the internal internship and through Project Search, a nationwide program that provides transition-to-work opportunities. CMCSS did not want COVID-19 restrictions to limit the potential for students, so the Operations Department continued their program this year even though Project Search was limited.
“The program gives our students a fighting chance in the real world. They are often ahead of their typically developing peers as they have experience and skills to be gainfully employed,” said Ms. Tuberville, CDC Instructor and SPED Lead at Montgomery Central High. “I love this program and fully support the community efforts it takes to engage, encourage, and instruct students to be the absolute best they can be in life.”
This is what allowed David Stockman, a senior at Montgomery Central, the opportunity to find full-time employment before graduation. He began his internship at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year and was offered a full-time position in March.
“He is an amazing young man,” said Ms. Tuberville. “He’s a dedicated, hard-worker who loves taking care of others.”
According to his teacher, David’s outlook has always been positive, but she can see the internship has given him a new perspective. “He does see and more fully understands the importance of having a job with benefits and earning a paycheck.”
David echos this sentiment. When asked how employment will impact his life, he said, “It feels pretty good. I can help pay bills. Buy my own stuff.” His goal right now is saving money for a truck.
The balance between education and the world of work is not lost on him either. From both experiences, he has learned valuable skills that will help further his career. The custodian position requires mixing of chemicals and understanding measurements. “There’s a lot of math in this job,” he admitted and was proud to say his time in school gave him confidence in his math abilities.