George Lucas Educational Foundation

Real-World Internships Lead to College and Career Readiness

At MC2 STEM High School in Cleveland, Ohio, students are paired with industry mentors in order to learn science, technology, engineering, and math skills. Read a blog from an MC2STEM mentor.
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Real-World Internships Lead to College and Career Readiness (Transcript)

Lora: In Cleveland's metropolitan school district, four out of ten high school students don't graduate.

But there's one school where ninety-five percent graduate and eighty-four percent of those go to college.

Lilly: We get mentors and real world experience through volunteering and internships.

Y'von: And when we graduate, we're prepared to succeed in college, in our careers and in life.

Lora: It's called M C squared STEM High School. Take a look at what they do for their students. It might change what you do for yours.

Gary: I think when we look at a program like STEM School, they've laid out a very good program. The hands-on projects, the industrial collaboration, the university collaboration, is a wonderful environment in which the kids can excel. Each kid has to have their fuse lit for that rocket to take off. So you can get them out on the launching pad, but if you don't light the fuse, they're not gonna go.

Tim and I started out mentoring about a year and a half, almost two years ago, when he was entering sophomore. He has become a tremendously different person. He's now a very confident young man. This is really remarkable. We brought kids in from the neighborhood, basically-- they're not handpicked from premium high schools in the area-- and gave them a rich experience in working with role models.

Tim: What's rewarding about working with professionals here on GE campus is getting to know how their life is. It makes me think at least that, you know, hey, if I go into this career, that's gonna be me, you know. That's gonna be me working really hard. That's gonna be me using all these math that my math teacher's me. That's gonna be me using all the science that my science teacher's teaching me.

Gary: This real world experience that they get really grounds them, so school is no longer for them a theoretical hypothesis for what life might be like.

Teacher: We're gonna be working with multi-meters. Okay, so your training is actually on equipment today.

Gary: So it's very reality based.

Teacher: Okay, what does that K mean, by the way?




Tim: Thousand means K.

Teacher: Okay, so that's two thousand--

Tim: So, since we're at two thousand K ohms...

They're teaching us from experience and when the professionals come in, it's like, wow, I need to pay attention.

Mastery based grading is different from the ABC scale. We get graded on M which is mastery. Reaching mastery and incomplete.

Catherine: It's a negative slope and it's less than or equal to--

Assessment in mastery in math is done two ways. One, through the testing of the mastery of the paper pencil skills, but then any project we do has a rubric. So the students know exactly what they need to do to perform to reach mastery.

Before we did the quadratic formula, what did we do?

The kids have to show that they've learned the content, and I feel really comfortable about that.

Lilly: Every summer in our three week break, I've gotten the chance to do an internship.

When I came to STEM, I wanted to be an astronomer, so I got my NASA internship, and I build hydrogen sensors for the International Space Station, but I found out I don’t want to be an astronomer. My second was in the injury prevention center at University Hospitals. I found out, I don't wanna do anything that has to do with hospitals. My third one, which is the one I'm currently in is at American Civil Liberties Union. I think I'm gonna end up doing something with political science that has to do with protection of our rights, 'cause I'm very passionate about that.

Y'von: Engineering is in my family. My father was a building engineer for Cleveland Thermal, so I was always interested, but I needed guidance going into high school. At STEM, everything was based on projects with other people, not just science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It goes beyond that. It goes to character, teamwork. At my internship, my main duty is document control. I started in March and maybe around July, I started to understand the stuff I was folding. I started to understand the stuff I was typing. This internship is more school to me than high school right now.

Student: Science and math, pretty much.

Jeff: Okay.

We should talk about, instead of coming back here for your other classes, maybe going to health careers like Melissa's doing.

Gary: They're not only getting from us an insight into, how do you get through high school to prepare for college? How do you choose in college? But, what does it look like beyond that? What are you really getting ready for? So the message to the kids is, it's not a linear path through school or grad school or med school or law school. It's really that emotional guidance. What are you feeling in here that makes sense to you in life where you think you can contribute? That emotional guidance I think is really key.

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  • Director: Zachary Fink
  • Producer: Mariko Nobori
  • Editor: Daniel Jarvis
  • Associate Producer: Douglas Keely
  • Camera: Zachary Fink
  • Sound: Thomas Gorman
  • Senior Manager of Video: Amy Erin Borovoy
  • Executive Producer: David Markus

Schools That Work: College and Career Readiness

Learn more about MC2 STEM's program in the full Schools That Work package where you'll find articles, free resources, and research findings on the effective strategies used at MC2 STEM.

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