Build Your Career HERE – Learning New Skills
Mar02

Build Your Career HERE – Learning New Skills

Part of securing yourself in a job is having the skills to go all the way. Yes, you need to know the essential functions of a job before you sign on the dotted line, but if you really want to succeed, you should also know how to communicate, how to be a leader, and how to fail gracefully. Depending on your comfort zone and your age, there are a variety of different ways for you to go out and find a little leadership coaching. Age has been on my side, and I have been afforded the opportunity to be a part of the Emerging Leaders Alliance through the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. This group’s mission is to develop a community of future leaders in Northeast Indiana and create opportunities for action, growth, and regional pride. We do this through working on Vision 2030 committees, hosting social and professional development events, working on strengths training, connecting with our community leaders with professional development book clubs, and of course, supporting our entire region however we can. Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana (YLNI) similarly affords this to me. While it is meant for a larger audience and a broader age range, it has different focus areas and many leadership roles for those who are interested. The opportunities to be vice chair of Living Fort Wayne (part of YLNI) and secretary of the ELA were only because I stepped out of my comfort zone and went out and looked to make myself and my community better. Luckily, many people were there to hold my hand, figuratively. Not everyone is in their 30s and able to dance between the kids and the adults. Some of us have more to lose and need to get the skills and networking now. I went back to the same experts I talked to last week and asked them about where you need to go in order to go far.   What are the best networking groups in the area? I will tell you this now because three people said it, but First Fridays is the place to be. According to Karl LaPan of the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center(NIIC), Theresa Steele of Steele Business Coaching and Jim Johnson of 3 Rivers (also one of the founders), it is the best networking experience in town. According to Karl LaPan, “it is more than a networking group, it is also solid leadership development, so First Fridays is exceptional. This monthly meeting is a high return on investment. On one of my visits, I had five meetings and lunches as a result of attending and participating in the monthly event. The content and...

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Seeing Is Believing @ FWCS
Mar08

Seeing Is Believing @ FWCS

Want to get to know a major education innovator in Fort Wayne?  A school system that excels in skilled trades, arts and sciences, and communication?  A school system that offers project- and inquiry-based learning models to help develop new types of thinkers through the New Tech teaching model?  That has the only high school in Northeast Indiana with the globally renowned International Baccalaureate program (and for over 20 years)? Who boasts its diversity with students from 6 continents and 70 home languages spoken?  Ready to find out who is excelling at education in your back yard? It’s your 160 year old public school system, Fort Wayne Community Schools!  Surprised?  Read on to find out how you can learn more. There’s been a lot of talk about the state of public education recently – about quality, effectiveness, and choice.  School choice is a buzzword now, but FWCS has been promoting choice for nearly 40 years.   We all have a variety of ways to get information to help us make that choice – whether that be social media, a website, or just a chat with friends over coffee.  But, really, what’s better than seeing for yourself?  That’s why, annually Fort Wayne Community Schools invites local business and community leaders on their Seeing is Believing tour to see how FWCS is preparing students for their futures in businesses and organizations in Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana. Seeing is Believing is a four-year partnership with Greater Fort Wayne, Inc., Excursions Trailways, and the Fort Wayne Area PTA.  Why does Greater Fort Wayne want more community members to see what goes on in their public schools?  Cheri Becker, Vice President of Investor Services, Programs & Marketing describes it this way, “The Seeing is Believing tour gives business and community leaders an opportunity to see what’s happening inside our schools and connect with educators and students. … GFW Inc.’s role is to be a connector. For the business community, understanding our school system is helpful when recruiting new talent to the area. Those families and individuals with children want to know that their children can succeed in the educational system before they decide to relocate. Likewise future business success depends on a well prepared workforce, Seeing is Believing allows the business community and the educational community to understand each other’s future needs and to work toward that successful end.” This year’s Seeing is Believing tour will be on Thursday, March 23rd.  The tour promises to be very exciting with participants meeting with FWCS Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson and FWCS Board of Trustees President Julie Hollingsworth.  Participants will also learn about schools and programs on student-lead tours of Wayne High...

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FWCS Magnet Schools Series: New Tech Academy
Dec18

FWCS Magnet Schools Series: New Tech Academy

As the second largest city in Indiana, Fort Wayne naturally has an abundance of schools to encompass the immense populations—especially since (as of 2013) children ages 0-17 made up 26.4%  of the population. Whatever level of school you’re looking for, Fort Wayne has plenty of options with over 90 elementary, intermediate, middle, and high schools combined. With a city this large, Fort Wayne has the opportunity to offer an educational advantage that many other cities can’t—magnet schools. What is a magnet school, you ask? Simply put: magnet schools offer specialized education in different areas that give its students a competitive advantage and prepare them for whatever it is they choose to pursue post-high school. Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) offers residents seven magnet school options. One of the newest and most unique options is the New Tech Academy. New Tech Academy focuses on incorporating STEM discipline into the curriculum—that’s science, technology, engineering, and math—under a project-based approach. I know what you’re thinking, we keep hearing about this “project-based” learning approach. I concede; it’s definitely become a buzzword. But here’s the thing… project-based learning works, especially from a multi-disciplinary approach. Students at New Tech don’t sit through classroom lectures. In fact, they never even sit in rows facing the front of the room. Students sit in cohorts of four or five most of the time, which is the average group number for their projects. Not only is New Tech applying a STEM based academic experience in a collaborative environment, but they are also providing students with another unique experience: an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to standard courses that they are traditionally required to take. Again, I know what you’re thinking… what does it all actually mean when put into practice? I had the pleasure of meeting with Jason Beer, a 9th/10th grade English teacher from New Tech Academy. To put these concepts into perspective, let me tell you a little about one of Jason’s classes. Jason co-teaches his 9th graders a collaborative class on English and Geography. You’re probably thinking exactly what I thought… How do you teach English AND Geography in one class? Projects are assigned to the students based on the content of the course, and the formation of the project is based on different standards that vary per English outcomes. The students are introduced to class through an online information management system (similar to that of Blackboard, if you’re familiar with that) detailing the schedule for the period. The teachers of these courses let the students self-direct the remaining 100 minutes of class while serving as resources, offering scheduled but voluntary workshops for any issues or questions they think may arise. Jason...

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