Why High School Teachers are Learning about Fire Codes with SAY
The SAY College and Career Readiness team in partnership with the Sonoma County Office of Education just completed coordination of a valuable externship program with three teams of teachers from area schools. Teacher externships offer a unique professional development opportunity connecting the classroom to the workplace. They provide an experience in which teachers spend time in a workplace to learn through direct experience about trends, skill requirements and opportunities in industries related to their subject in order to enrich and strengthen their teaching and bring relevance to student learning.
One of these teams was comprised of three teachers from Elsie Allen High School. They spent their public safety externship at Santa Rosa Fire Department, Prevention Bureau, where they learned about fire codes, building plans, inspections, and fire investigations. These three teachers—Public Safety teacher Dan Bartholome, History teacher Katie Chesbro, and English teacher Nathan Good—work with 30 students who are part of the school’s Integrated Public Safety Pathway. They plan to interwork their lessons using knowledge they gained to give their pathway an overarching theme; one project the students will work on is a mock fire inspection.
“The idea is that the kids will have more engagement,” Bartholome said. “Anybody will understand more if they’re engaged and interested. “
Work-based Learning Coordinator Leti Wallace from the SAY College and Career Readiness program contacted Santa Rosa Fire Marshall Scott Moon about partnering with Elsie Allen High School teachers, and he accepted. Assistant Fire Marshall Ian Hardage was assigned to lead the externship activities along with Moon, which he was more than happy to do.
“We wanted to support and provide whatever assistance we could to the development of this program,” Hardage said. “I think many of the kids will be sparked with an interest in one of these areas.”
The Montgomery High School’s Sustainability with Alternative Technology Pathway teacher team attended an externship hosted by the Sonoma County Energy and Sustainability Division, where they learned about the Energy and Sustainability Division. And teachers from Petaluma High School’s engineering pathway participated in an externship at Keysight Technologies in Santa Rosa. This teacher team pulled from their respective expertise in engineering, math, English, and art to act as Keysight’s newest “consultants” for projects they were assigned during the week.
The SAY College and Career Readiness team will continue facilitating this program, exposing future leaders to important skills and career interests, and benefiting our community for years to come.
Hardage, for one, looks forward to working with the program again. “I think this is the start of a symbiotic relationship,” he said.