NHS focus is providing real world experiences 

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From left, Don Wettrick, NHS Innovations teacher, Alaina Shonkwiler NHS workforce development coordinator, and Jeff Bryant, NHS principal, form the panel. (Photo by Mark Ambrogi)

For Noblesville High School principal Jeff Bryant, the education times have been changing.

“We’re pretty good at teaching children stuff,” Bryant said. “Your (the audience) experience at school probably mirrors that. You learned a lot of stuff, but you had very few opportunities to apply that, not many real world experiences. I think what schools have realize is we have to provide opportunities for kids to use what they have learned. The innovation classes, the internship program and Project Lead the Way classes, DECA, allows students the opportunity to take what they have learned, not just in high school, but after school to take what they have learned and do something with it.”

A three-person panel from both Noblesville High School and Westfield High Schools addressed the Westfield Chamber of Commerce Nov. 16 at the IMMI Conference Center.

Innovations teacher Don Wettrick is passionate about adapting to the times.

“The jobs we are counting on today aren’t going to be here,” Wettrick said. “This isn’t me spouting data. The majority of the jobs in the future will be freelance. Therefore because of automation, because of machine learning, because of AI, we are going to have to have students that understand problem solving without being told what to do all the time.”

Wettrick said instead of people changing their majors in college when they realize they didn’t actually like what they were pursuing, it would be better to get hands-on experience when in high school. In his class, he said some projects that get started in his class don’t get finished because the students realize they didn’t like it.

“We have to provide a safe landing for our students to fail,” Wettrick said. “You are going to invest $25,000 that first year of college and then realize you don’t like it. I prefer you save that $25,000, learn now. So, by the time they get to college, if they go to college, they can start moving forward with the things in place.”

“I think it’s borderline child abuse, I’m not joking, to not let kids carry out inquiry and passions at least part of the day. We all get it, you have to memorize things. You can’t be innovative unless you know how to read and write and do basic math.”

NHS workforce development coordinator Alania Shonkwiler helps place students with internships.

“With the internship program, one of the things our students are learning is how important it is to show initiative at work, to be dependable, show up on time,” Shonkwiler said. “So they are getting real world experiences with soft skills development.”


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