Return to Headlines

DSHS Teachers Complete Externship Program

November 4, 2019


For the third year in a row, a group of teachers from Dripping Springs High School participated in a summer “externship” program supported by the Dripping Springs Chamber of Commerce and Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area. The externship program is designed to connect teachers to local businesses related to their subject area so that they may incorporate real-world experience into authentic learning for their students.

The program, now in its third year, matches each educator to a local business in an appropriate industry to observe how academic classroom content is applied in the real world. During the externship, educators observe the application of academic skill sets required for a given industry by shadowing workers at that business for three days in the summer. In doing do, they gain insights not only into technical and academic skills, but also about the ethics, communication, interpersonal, and soft skills required at the worksite. The goal of the program is to connect classroom content to the workplace in order to motivate students to master the academic and technical skills needed to enter and successfully compete in the workforce.

Before the shadowing experience, teachers draft an outline of the lesson with their anticipated outcome, which helps the business and teacher devise a meaningful experience. In some cases, the teacher may opt for a new and even better plan with input from the business. They also schedule a one-day educator orientation by phone or in person. Following the three days shadowing one or more employees at the business, the educator plans one day as a “wrap-up” and to work on curriculum development. They then give a presentation about the experience to other DSHS teachers. Lastly, during the school year the developed lesson is implemented in the classroom.

The teachers who participated, along with the location of their externships, is listed below:

Christy Trussell, Floral Design/Hospitality teacher, WHIM

Jerri Ybarra, Social Studies teacher, City of Dripping Springs

Kristen Iglesias, Math teacher, Lockout Austin

Kathleen Harris, Math teacher, HHS (Hospital Housekeeping Services)

Jena Walker, Special Education reading specialist, Belle Verde Farms (hydroponic)

Courtney Neva, choir director, Conspirare

The Dripping Springs Chamber of Commerce recognized the teachers who participated at the Oct. 24 luncheon, and presented each participant with a $500 stipend check for the time spent during the summer. Chamber businesses that hosted teachers also attended.