Boston Fed hosts teachers from Boston Public Schools for week-long pilot externship program
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While students from Boston Public Schools enjoyed a reprieve from their studies during spring break, some of their teachers spent the week immersed in the Boston Fed’s IT department. The Bank welcomed three teachers and a digital learning specialist for an IT-focused pilot “externship” program designed to better equip teachers with the skills necessary to guide students into STEM-focused secondary education and careers.
The unique externship program, which was developed collaboratively by the Boston Fed and Boston Public Schools (BPS), provided the teachers with hands-on training and exposure to emerging technologies and information technology operations. Ultimately, the teachers will incorporate new career readiness and employability skills into their lesson plans.
“If we want Boston students ready for the careers of the future, we have to equip educators with the knowledge and tools to prepare them,” said Turahn Dorsey, the City of Boston’s Chief of Education. “This pilot can help us create bridges between BPS and local employers that effectively align learning and professional skill demand."
Throughout the week, participants attended demos and sessions led by Boston Fed subject matter experts on a range of IT topics from distributed ledger technology, or “blockchain,” to application development and cybersecurity. The teachers also had the opportunity to hear from Human Resources professionals and learn about the hard and soft skills they look for when hiring interns.
BPS staff also had the chance to speak with current and former Boston Fed interns. Interns shared stories of successes, challenges, and things they wished they had learned in school—including business etiquette and how to properly draft an email.
“Our time here at the Boston Fed has given our STEM teachers a sense of realism in what they teach. Now they’ve seen it in action, and now they can implement it in their classrooms,” said Nick Gonzales, externship participant and Digital Learning Specialist at Boston Public Schools.
Boston Fed’s Julie George, Paul Brassil, and Sangeeta Choudhury worked closely with BPS and City of Boston officials to develop the externship. According to Julie, the program will provide the teachers with business experience and help to prepare their students for the future work environment.
"These teachers truly have the ability to impact hundreds of students and ultimately, the region's workforce," said Julie. "The experience was beneficial to not only the BPS educators, but to Boston Fed staff as well.”
With an already strong focus on internship and co-op programs, the Boston Fed sought to gain insight into the essential components of a successful internship program from the teachers’ perspectives.