Learning Through Internships

Learning Through Internships @ Camden Big Picture Learning Academy, formerly MetEast opened in September 2005 and was the first Big Picture Learning School in the state of New Jersey. 
Our focus is to educate “one student at a time,” and therefore each student’s curriculum is based on their own passions and interests and personal learning styles. 
Camden Big Picture Learning Academy students are required to explore their interests by completing projects in real world work settings and develop strong relationships with teachers and project mentors. 
As Learning Through Internship (LTI) is the center of the CBPLA curriculum, we have sent students out on internships at businesses and organizations since 2005. At the worksites, students take on real-world tasks and projects under the supervision of a mentor. Back at school, the students work with their advisors, building and reinforcing the skills and knowledge needed to complete those projects. 

STEPS in the LTI PROCESS 
• Interest Exploration 
• Complete Professional Expectations Training 
• Interviews
• Shadow Days
• Securing an Internship 
• Project Development and Completion 
INTERNSHIP SCHEDULE 
Students are at their internships two days a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays for 8-10 hours per week. Hours are between 10:30 AM – 3:15 PM. The internships are set up for a minimum of 12 weeks and are unpaid. 
BENEFITS FOR STUDENTS 
• Build a relationship with an adult mentor
• Learn the professional attitude and expertise that are necessary in today’s workplace 
• Learn skills such as organization, punctuality and time management
• Become engaged in his/her work and take ownership of his/her learning 
• Understand the importance of education and develop long-term goals 

BENEFITS FOR MENTORS 
• Have a fresh set of eyes look at your work and see new answers to old problems
• Catch the enthusiasm of a teenager who is excited about your work 
• Have an extra set of hands to tackle the daily tasks at your organization
• Become part of a statewide network of professionals who mentor students 
• Personal reward of encouraging teenagers who share your professional goals 
STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES 
• Contribute real work to the internship site 
• Take on a special project for the internship site 
• Research an investigative question connected to their work or project 
• Meet regularly with the mentor to report on progress and to receive feedback 
• Reflect on work and learning in journal writings 
• Call mentor and CBPLA if he/she is going to be absent or late 

MENTOR RESPONSIBILITIES 
• Schedule regular times to meet with the student to give him/her feedback 
• Communicate with the student’s advisor to discuss their work as needed 
• Attend the student’s final presentation of his/her work (an exhibition) 
• Share workplace related skills, knowledge and experiences with the student