Tutoring and Mentorship Brings Authentic Learning to MC2 STEM High School (video)February 27, 2013 | Mariko Nobori
MC2 STEM High School is an unusual year-round public school of about 270 students, located in Cleveland, Ohio. The school emphasizes integrated project-based learning, partnerships with business professionals, and real-world internship experiences to help students understand the crucial link between academic achievement and their future economic success. We visited their school and spent time with the dedicated adults and enthusiastic students who have helped create the school’s success. Take a look at this video for a glimpse into three students’ experiences there.
The school is located on multiple STEM-related campuses, and tenth grade is embedded at the GE Lighting world headquarters at Nela Park in East Cleveland. During their sophomore year, students have the opportunity to be paired with a GE employee for tutoring and guidance. It’s an experience that can be valuable and rewarding for both the students and the mentors. Gary Allen, a principal engineer and physicist at GE Lighting, shared his experience as a mentor for one memorable student.
What is your role with General Electric and MC2 STEM? Are you a STEM teacher, a mentor, or both?
I have been a GE employee for 25 years and am currently Principal Engineer, Physicist on our LED Innovation Team.
What are some of the ways you work with students?
With tenth graders of MC2 STEM, located on GE Lighting's campus at Nela Park, I am able to tutor, mentor, teach, have students shadow me and serve as a manager for an engineering internship of one of the senior students.
What is one story that inspires you about these students?
I had a special experience with the first STEM student for whom I tutored. I met him as he was standing at his poster during a project report-out along with all of the MC2 STEM sophomore students. Their posters were being reviewed by GE employees at our GE Lighting world headquarters at Nela Park, where I work. He was the only student who, at the time I arrived, did not have anyone visiting his poster, so I went to him. As we discussed his poster, I noticed some special qualities -- creative, shy, friendly and maybe not too confident. I continued the discussion into his interests at school and in career, his hobbies, and how he was adjusting. He said he was ready to leave MC2 STEM due to the extreme challenge for him. I asked him if he would be interested in a bargain -- I'd tutor him if he committed to staying through the end of that sophomore year -- and he lit up. So we did. While it was nominally just tutoring, we made it much more -- mentoring and a trusting friendship. I met with his parents, along with Andrea, MC2 STEM GE program manager, and the Head of School, and we worked through the challenges that year. He stuck with it all year, and for the next two years. He graduated with the first graduating class from MC2 STEM High School last June. I attended the ceremony and then talked with him and his parents afterward. The hugs from family and the tears in his mom's eyes are memories that will stay with me forever.