At Garden Spot High School, interested and eligible seniors can participate in a co-op experience, leaving school to go to work while earning academic credit. Students enrolled in a co-op program are paid while on the job. co-op experiences give students the opportunity to explore careers, before committing to one.
Co-ops fall under the umbrella of work-integrated learning (alongside internships, service learning and clinical placements) and reflect a partnership between the academic institution and the employer, intended to advance the education of the student.
Cooperative education is about linking classroom theory and practice through meaningful experiential learning, grounded in the following principles:
- Students are active learners and producers of knowledge
- Instructional strategies should include contextual learning and application of knowledge to real situations
- Schools should establish formal partnerships with outside entities on behalf of student learners
- School experiences should be integrated with external experiences
Schools are required to have a Certified Cooperative Education Coordinator (Co-op Coordinator) on staff to manage co-ops. This helps to ensure the safety of the student enrolled in the co-op program and the success of the student employer relationship.
Not all schools in Lancaster County have Co-op Coordinators. Those that do can attest to the value of getting kids out to work where they can begin charting their career journey earlier than later.
Congratulations to Garden Spot High School for being featured on WITF, calling attention to the value of schools providing cooperative and coordinated work experiences for students and employers.