Students in Story County (and at Boone High School) are going to have an incredible new opportunity next year, and principals at both Collins-Maxwell and Ballard are weighing in on what SCALE will offer.
SCALE — Story County Active Learning Experience — (similar to the APEX program in Waukee) will offer students here the opportunity for dual credits (both high school credit and college credit through Des Moines Area Community College) while they take courses in four career path areas, called “strands.” Those areas include: health and human services, multi-disciplinary engineering, renewable energy/bio sciences and business communications and technology.
Courses will be taught by DMACC instructors, and students will work for participating businesses to tie their classroom learning to real-world work experience.
“This is great educational and career-based work that can really benefit the present and future of our students,” said Collins-Maxwell Principal Jordan Nelson, who said his district has four students at this time who are considering registering for the business and health and human service strands. Nelson said Collins-Maxwell student Austin Galbraith worked with the SCALE planning process as a representative and liaison for the school.
Ballard Principal John Ronca describes SCALE as an “internship-type program with an educational component.” Ronca said four Ballard FLAG students have served as ambassadors for this program. Those students did a PowerPoint and a question-and-answer session with current Ballard sophomores and juniors about SCALE. Then the following week, those with a deeper interest were able to attend a meeting in Ames (held earlier this month) with other Story County kids who were wanting to know more about the program. He said six Ballard students have, at this time, committed to be part of SCALE next year.
As Nelson explains, SCALE works nicely for students who are juniors and seniors and who have the ability to drive. “Students leave their home district … and travel to a work site in Story County,” he said, noting that each student takes one strand per semester. They can choose to take just one, or take all four strands throughout their high school career.
With SCALE, students will work alongside employers in the four career areas, learning not only about that industry, but also, Nelson said, about “valuable soft skills, such as responsibility, dependability, deadlines and professionalism.”
Ronca agrees that the program will be a great tool for students. “(SCALE) will either give students vindication that they really are thinking about the right career, or it will be a realization that they may not like what they were thinking of for a career,” he said.
Ronca is impressed that local businesses and companies are willing to open their doors for this program and high school students. “This is a major step in the right direction for getting our high school students excited about staying in central Iowa to begin their careers.”