Course connects students to authentic work experiences
Submitted by Briana Evans School Counselor
Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, USD No. 113 introduced a new class — Professional Learning Experience (PLE). The course, which is open to seniors, requires its enrollees to draw connections between their existing educational opportunities and their future.
Presently, Sabetha High School and Wetmore High School have four students enrolled in the Professional Learning Class, which is supervised by Briana Evans, school counselor. The experiences of these four seniors are shared below:
Wetmore High School senior McKayla Henry is conducting her PLE with Wetmore Veterinary Service.
“McKayla is an exceptional employee,” said Dr. Trent Glick, veterinarian at Wetmore Veterinary Service. “We are absolutely delighted to have her during the day. I feel the PLE program is a win-win, because she is able to work and still participate in activities.”
Henry reported on her experience.
“My name is McKayla Henry, and as a senior at Wetmore High School I have had the privilege to participate in the newly implemented Professional Learning Experience (PLE) program. I am currently employed at Wetmore Veterinary Service, which is located just a few minutes east of Wetmore.
“My PLE work site supervisors are Dr. Trent Glick and Renee Thieme. My duties include assisting veterinarians during exams and surgery, processing transactions, and maintaining cleanliness of the facility.
“I chose Wetmore Veterinary Service as my PLE location, because it is a short distance from my high school and also allows me to gain medical experience that will help me in my future career. In addition, the positive environment and generosity of my supervisors makes Wetmore Veterinary Service an amazing place to be employed.
“Overall, through my enrollment in PLE, I have learned that hands-on experience and working for a business are great ways to broaden one’s knowledge and grasp the fundamentals of the work force.”
Sabetha High School senior Leah Metzger is conducting her PLE with the Apostolic Christian Home.
“Leah has shown great enthusiasm in wanting to learn more about rehabilitation and helping people maintain their mobility for independence if it is through walking or wheelchair mobility,” said Erin Henry, therapist at the Apostolic Christian Home. “Leah was able to observe what it takes and the importance of helping people regain function for activities of daily living. She has seen that you need to be creative in what treatment you do and your approach to each individual to help meet their goals. I have had patients ask if Leah will be here today, because she is easy to talk with and feel she is personable.”
Metzger reported on her experience.
“As a senior this year I, Leah Metzger, have had the opportunity to participate in a class different than the normal. I am enrolled in the PLE program to help gain knowledge, skills and experience for the future.
“The therapy department at the Apostolic Christian Home is where I spend my last hour of school every day. Erin Henry, Denise Debusk and Lisa Meyer are my supervisors, and they are a joy to work with! I am able to assist patients with their therapy and make sure the equipment is clean.
“This PLE choice aligns with the anatomy class I am taking in high school but also gives me firsthand exposure to being a physical therapy assistant (PTA). After I graduate I plan to attend Washburn University and earn a degree as a PTA.
“My PLE experience has made me more comfortable in assisting patients with therapy. It has taught me new terminology used in the medical field, and has proved to me that being a PTA is a good fit for me. I have tremendously enjoyed my PLE experience and would encourage other students considering PLE to take the opportunity to expose themselves to a future career and see if they really like it.”
Sabetha High School senior Garrett Scott is conducting his PLE with the Sabetha Community Hospital physical therapy department.
The SCH physical therapy department shared that “Garrett has a winning smile and is eager to learn. He will be a great PTA and an asset to any facility.”
Scott reported on his experience.
“My name is Garrett Scott. I have had the privilege of being one of the first people in the Professional Learning Experience (PLE) program. I am currently an observer/aid in the Physical Therapy (PT) department of the Sabetha Community Hospital. I chose Sabetha Community Hospital as my PLE worksite because of its proximity to Sabetha High School.
“My future career plan is to be a Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA). In order to apply to college PTA programs, one of the requirements is a large number of observation hours. My tasks include changing bedding, assisting physical therapy assistants and physical therapists with patients, retrieving and putting away equipment after patient use.
“The personnel in the Physical Therapy department are very helpful, answering my questions and additionally explaining what they do with patients. Through my Professional Learning Experience, it has helped me learn a great deal of information about physical therapy and has helped confirm that I want to be in the Physical Therapy field.
“In order to make the PLE work into my schedule, I attend school for the first three class hours, leave for the Hospital and observe, then I return for the last three class hours of the day.
“I am extremely thankful for Mrs. Evans, our school counselor, because of all the work she has done to help all of the PLE students with the paperwork required, visiting our job sites and talking to us about our PLEs. She has made the Professional Learning Experience an amazing way to go out into the real world and learn real life skills.”
Sabetha High School senior Samantha Shafer is conducting her PLE with Edelmans Home Center.
“Sam’s placement at Edelmans has been such a benefit to us! Hiring young people always brings us a breath of fresh air, and Sam’s energy, enthusiasm and hard work ethic have been just that! We feel the PLE program is a great addition to Sabetha High School’s curriculum,” said Jeanne Edelman, owner of Edelmans Home Center. “What an opportunity for students to gain real world working experience!”
Shafer reported on her experience.
“My name is Samantha Shafer, and I am a senior at Sabetha High. I am involved in the new class option for seniors called Professional Learning Experience. This is a class where you take a set one or two class periods every day to go to a business and work. This allows students like myself to gain more experience in the workplace and learn more about a specific career area the student is interested in.
“My Professional Learning Experience (PLE) placement is at Edelmans Home Center in Sabetha. My employers are Loren and Jeanne Edelman, who are also the store owners. When I signed up for this class, I was looking for a workplace where I could gain valuable knowledge and experience in the area of business and business management. Edelmans seemed like a perfect fit for me! I went through the application process and was offered the job in August. I started working soon after and am thoroughly enjoying my time spent at the store!
“I decided to use two class periods for my PLE. So after sixth hour, I drive to work and finish up my school day there. Making this work with my other classes was a challenge. In fact, I think that Mrs. Evans had to rearrange my entire class schedule three or four times! Thanks, Mrs. Evans! But in the end, it all worked out perfectly!
“I have learned so much in my time at Edelmans by way of business. I have learned the importance of organization in a business, how to manage stock and inventory, how to work with customers to help them get what they need, and I have learned to appreciate all the “behind the scenes” work that goes on in a business setting.
“I have really appreciated the opportunity to be involved in this new option at Sabetha High School. It has taught me responsibility, given me the chance to gain more experience in the workforce and better prepare me for life after graduation.
“I have especially been grateful for the chance to work at Edelmans Home Center! Loren and Jeanne do a great job doing their best to please customers, provide the local services people need and helping me specifically learn what I need to know to prepare me for my future! I fully support the new PLE class and the guidance it provides, and hope it will be offered to students in the future!”
A portion of the course description as with students to promote enrollment is as follows: “The Professional Learning Experience (PLE) course connects technical skill development at the application level to authentic industry-related experiences for the individual student learner across all fields and pathways. The PLE course is designed for students who want to gain experience working in a job that is directly tied to a class in which the student is enrolled. The academic and occupational skills that the student will be learning need to be at the same skill level as the course in which the student is enrolled.”
The PLE course directly aligns with the Kansas Vision for Education. It touches on the five qualities of a successful high school graduate as stated by the Kansas State Department of Education — academic preparation, cognitive preparation, technical skills, employability skills and civic engagement. It also enhances a student’s individual plan of study, supports post-secondary and career preparation, and boosts the likelihood of postsecondary success.
USD No. 113 is fortunate to have community employers who will host students and support the district mission of “Preparing kids, shaping the future.”