CITY OF NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Seven Parishes Collaborate in MetroVision Regional School-to-Career Partnership
New Orleans is included in the MetroVision Regional School-to-Career Partnership, a wide-ranging effort to improve the connection between education and the job market for students. The Partnership uses academies within high schools to familiarize students with industry-specific applications of their course work, provides internships in these industries for both students and teachers, encourages middle school students to explore career options, and aids development of curriculum relevant to the workplace.
In the seven parishes which comprise Greater New Orleans, the MetroVision Regional School-to-Career Partnership is a broad coalition of representatives of business, labor, education and government who share a recognition that all schools must fundamentally change what they teach and how they teach it, and that, in this age of information and technology, a higher level of knowledge and skills is needed for success. The Partnership’s School-to-Careers Initiative is designed to enable students to reach a higher level of performance by showing them the connection between education and real life. It represents a shift in educational priorities by recognizing that the purpose of education is to prepare students for both productive citizenship and further education, whether they go on to college or directly into the workplace.
MetroVision’s Partnership is one of nine in Louisiana, a part of a state-wide effort to shift educational priorities at the local level. During 1997, the Partnership brought together leaders in education, business, government and the community to expose students to a cross-section of careers, helping the students realize the connection between their education and the job market. It linked classrooms to careers through internships in local businesses for both teachers and students, and through continuing incentives for teachers and principals to build a rigorous curriculum that is relevant to today’s workplace needs.
Consortia – High school academies – essentially, a school within a school – were developed in conjunction with industry-specific consortia to familiarize students with the real-world application of their course work. The industry consortia support the development of broad career pathways through academies which allow students to learn what the world of work is really about. They offer internships and courses which reveal how math, science, language and art are keys to success in different careers. They also provide four-year programs with work-based learning for juniors and seniors, and post-secondary connections which enable students to earn college credits while in high school. Consortia, comprised of business and industry representatives and educators, provide assistance to the academies on curriculum, internships, mentoring and post-secondary linkages.
In 1997, four consortia had more than 550 student participants in internships for upper schools, and a job shadowing program for both middle schools and upper schools. These consortia are focused on:
In 1998, new consortia in the petrochemical, health care and information technology industries are being introduced.
Middle Schools – The Partnership has launched a new middle school initiative in which 15 schools from seven parishes have joined together as a learning community. Features of this initiative include career exploration, interdisciplinary classes, teachers mentoring students one-on-one, professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators, and a conference planned for the summer of 1998 which will focus on the School-to-Career concept. A special conference designed to encourage middle school students to explore career paths attracted teams of principals, counselors, teachers, students, parents and business partners from 74 middle schools.
Teachers – The School-to-Career initiative has provided training and information for teachers. In 1997, more than 300 area high school teachers completed week-long internships in a variety of industries, giving them firsthand knowledge of what the workplace requires. The participating teachers from approximately 14 high schools in the region developed lesson plans for the year, incorporating projects and examples of how students can relate specific subjects to real-world situations. For example, groups of teachers experienced various stages of the construction process, explored tourism venues ranging from the convention center to the Audubon Institute, and gained a complete overview of the judicial system at the local, state and federal levels. One-day job shadowing opportunities attracted over 60 teachers, exposing them to occupational skills that were then translated into relevant classroom topics. Teachers who participated also got a feel for the range of occupational education and training available locally and developed a network of professional contacts to serve as classroom resources.
Curriculum – The Initiative has sponsored a series of curriculum workshops, including a Curriculum Integration workshop which illustrated effective ways to mesh classroom learning with the real world. A Money Matters workshop, designed especially for teachers in the Financial Services Academies, focused on the development of analytical and practical skills such as tracking stocks, incorporating the Internet into lesson plans, interpreting stock tables, and developing interdisciplinary approaches to teaching.
Accomplishments – Between 1994 and 1997:
MetroVision’s School-to-Career Initiative was one of three specific projects cited when greater New Orleans was one of the 10 1996 recipients of the National Civic League’s "All American Community" award; this award is based on the collaboration of diverse public, private and nonprofit groups, working on solutions to a region’s most serious challenges.
"Preparing our young people for the working world of tomorrow is the most critical issue facing our City," says New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial. "Through this unique partnership, local governments are working with schools, private businesses and others throughout our region to create curriculums that lead to the careers of tomorrow."
Contact: Susan Burge, Director, MetroVision School-to-Career Initiative, (504) 527-6925
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1998, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.