project based curriculum collaboration

Why Do We Need to Learn This?

A typical career path of a teacher includes graduating from high school, attending a four-year college to receive a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate, and returning to the elementary or secondary education classroom.  Often, teachers have limited experience in industries outside of education beyond the part-time jobs they had in their formative years.  This niche experience makes it difficult to answer a common student question, “Why do we need to learn this?”  

Garden Spot High School, in the Eastern Lancaster County School District, offers many career experience programs including CTC, Internship, Co-Op, Access Success, Work-Based Learning, and Career Coaching.  These programs allow students to explore careers in their interest areas and assist students with developing a clear and realistic career plan upon graduation.  These experiences, while extremely valuable and important to student career development, are separate from everyday classroom curriculum.  

In the Fall of 2023, ELANCO School District was awarded a $25,000 grant from the Lancaster STEM Alliance for the Business-Education Curriculum Collaboration to be completed during the 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 school years.  Through this grant, each teacher toured two businesses (26 total teachers touring 10 different businesses) to learn about a variety of industries. The teachers who participated in this experience work in a variety of disciplines including elementary and secondary education, with focus areas in Business, Math, Science, and STEM classrooms.  

After the tours, teachers participated in project-based learning training and created projects that will be implemented into the classroom curriculum.  These new projects coming from local industry will begin to answer that age-old question, “Why do we have to learn this?”

Jill Hackman


Business tours included Keylink Fencing and Railing, High Concrete, Garden Spot Village Greenhouse, JM Lapp LLC, Case New Holland, New Holland Church Furniture, Premier Custom Built, Garden Spot Dental Care, Turf Teq/Spec Fab, and Homestead Nutrition.

thankful for not trying to be “too cool” for anything and giving it a go.

A hand up in affording higher education