Creating the City High Student Profile
City Highʼs co-founders Rick Wertheimer and Mario Zinga started designing the school by creating a profile of the kind of graduate they wanted to produce. During the planning phase, they visited a range of companies and universities to ask them directly, “What are you looking for?” The answer, Wertheimer recalls, “was the same whether you were talking to the physics department at Carnegie Mellon University or the manager of the McDonald’s on the corner: they need to be here on time, responsible in doing their work, work well with others, have good communication skills, and it would be great if they were problem solvers.”
Jessie Foley with mentor Dr. Brandon Lucia—The Abstract Research Lab in Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Jessie’s first task was to develop software that would run on the experimental hardware, which required Jessie to independently learn a new development tool chain. Achieving this goal involved a lot of independent learning and discovery. The ability to find resources and learn independently was one of the things that made Jessie so successful during his internship.
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Best Practices—Workforce Culture
From the student’s perspective (Graduating Senior)…
The internship helps you decide what you really want to do, what it is actually like. For me, it confirmed my career choice, but for some of my friends they saw it wasnʼt what they thought at all. The best thing for me was, they treated me like an adult. They acted like I was one of them, like I knew what to do, and I actually did! They helped me, but I was a real employee.
From the teacher’s perspective…
When they come in they all say ʻ“must go to college,” but they have no idea why. We want them thinking about why. What do they want to do and what education is required for that. We have a lot of conversations about what is realistic. We talk a lot about alignment. You never say you canʼt and you wonʼt even if you think it is a long shot but you focus concretely on what is that realistic first step out of high school that is aligned with that goal. We have learned that you have to help them stress test the scenarios against the never-ending stream of life problems that come up. We want them to come out of here with a plan that is realistic and resilient.
Preparing students to succeed in their post high-school paths.
- What does a professional person look like; act, dress, and speak like?
- What careers are each student interested in?
- What is a resume and cover letter?
- What is a transcript, what is a GPA, and how do they relate to college?
- Resume & Cover Letter writing.
- Mock interviews—As the employee and as the employer.
- Research and plan all post-high school goals including; 2-year and 4-year colleges, military, apprenticeship or employment.
- 130 Hour required internship in the community
For more of City High’s Best Practices please visit our research page: cityhigh.org/research/
Workforce Culture • Copyright 2011, City Charter High School, All Rights Reserved