Lesson plans will soon have more real-world connections.

Lesson plans will soon have more real-world connections.

Next week 31 Dublin City School staff members will participate in the new externship program that pairs teachers with professionals to create problem-based learning lessons for the classroom.

The externships are part of Dublin's K to Career program, funded through a Straight A Grant from the state.

The four-day program includes at least one teacher from each Dublin school and 15 mentors from local companies and universities.

"We have a city engineer coming, the city is donating their time," said Kimberly Clavin, Dublin City School's manager of STEM initiatives.

"We have a (person with a doctorate) in environmental science coming to work with seventh-grade science teachers," Clavin said.

"They'll work together to develop a classroom activity associated with water quality around the city's Bridge Street project."

Another planned project will have students give input about the design of the new Dublin branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

"Michael Blackwell (manager of the Dublin branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library) is coming because they're designing and building a whole new library in Dublin," Clavin said.

"He'll work with our media specialist to come up with a project for students to collaborate and help with the design of the new building and put some of those ideas into our libraries."

Finding both teachers and professionals to take part in the inaugural externship program was not a challenge, Clavin said.

"Local businesses and companies have been amazing to Dublin City Schools," she said.

"They recognize the need to build talent. They're reaching out to us, saying 'How can we help?' It hasn't been difficult."

Bridging the gap between the classroom and workplace will be done the first time teachers and professionals meet with questions and an attempt to decipher the different languages used in business and education.

After that, teachers and professionals will use their knowledge to create problem-based learning exercises in the classroom that students could encounter in the real world.

Clavin's goal is to have participating staff members know how to design an authentic learning experience, form strategies for academic and workplace success, help bridge the gap between education and the workplace in the classroom and integrate real-world resources and experiences into the classroom.

"It's current, relevant and kids feel like they're part of it," Clavin said.

Because the externship program is part of the school's K to Career curriculum, Clavin said more will come in the future.

"The plan is to run the train the trainer model," she said. "Teachers get training and form a counsel for all of next year that will help schools to get interest and train other teachers."

Next summer the inaugural externship class will learn about coaching while a whole new class of teachers will go through the externship program, Clavin said.

An online learning component will also be included in the externship program that will take it to other schools in the state.

"We're scaling it for other districts to take advantage of," Clavin said, adding that teachers will be able to access the information at anytime and anywhere.

No matter where the externships are done, the goal is the same: getting students prepared for the workforce.

"We want to get educators to understand and be able to formulate exercises similar to what students will see in the workplace," Clavin said.