B-P set to launch work-based learning initiative in 2021

District will partner with local business community to connect classroom instruction and career exploration

The Broadalbin-Perth Central School District is finalizing plans to launch a work-based learning (WBL) initiative in early 2021.  Through the program, B-P will connect B-P students with alumni, local businesses and members of the community to give students an opportunity to explore different careers hands-on before they graduate from high school. 

Local businesses and individuals are invited to participate by offering internships, engaging with students during career fairs or classroom talks, serving as mentors, or offering job shadowing experiences for students. 

The program will launch in 2021, providing students from the Class of 2022 with the opportunity to add credit-bearing WBL internships to their senior schedules when they meet with their school counselors in February. 

The seeds of the work-based learning program were planted during the development of the district’s long-term strategic plan, “Innovate,” which was published in 2016. 

“We’ve envisioned a program like this at B-P for a long time,” said Superintendent of Schools Stephen Tomlinson. “The idea is to tap into the talent right here in our community to help better prepare our students for whatever comes next for them after high school. I’m proud that we’ll soon be able to offer these kinds of opportunities for our students.”

Charla Simonson, a counselor at BPHS, took two graduate courses over the summer to become certified in work-based learning and will be overseeing Broadalbin-Perth’s program.

“A lot of research has gone into developing the WBL program at B-P to make sure it’s a program that satisfies our students’ specific needs,” Simonson said. “We want our students to be more aware of the career paths that are available to them so they can make more informed decisions about their futures. We hope that a more personalized learning experience at the secondary level can be the catalyst behind helping our students realize their passion or find their dream career.”

Terry LaFountain, B-P’s dIrector of instructional and grant-funded programs, says that work-based learning will eventually be folded into the curriculum at each grade level, pre-K through grade 12. 

“During the 2021-22 school year, members of the Class of 2022 will be the first to benefit from the WBL program,” LaFountain said. “Our long-term goal for the program is to help students at every level connect what they’re learning in the classroom to different career options.”

Simonson will be organizing a WBL advisory committee in January to help direct the work of the program. Any local business, B-P alumnus, or community member who would like to participate in Broadalbin-Perth’s work-based learning program or serve on the advisory committee should contact Simonson at simonsonc@bpcsd.org or (518) 954-2623.