Last, month, we began a series of blog posts in order to recognize some of the incredible K-12 educators we have had the privilege of working with. These are energetic, forward-thinking, and fun individuals who have implemented the STEM Premier platform in their schools, districts, and counties.
In June, we heard from Dr. Sean Alford, Superintendent of the Aiken County Public School District, who gave us his take on STEM Premier from an administrator’s point-of-view. This month, we want to shine the spotlight on someone who works directly with students to help them develop their professional plans and goals.
Tashiba Pearson is a passionate and dedicated educator, and a big fan of STEM Premier. Let’s see what she has to say about implementing STEM Premier in her school.
Tell us about your role with the school or district that you are involved with.
As the Career Development Facilitator (CDF), it is my role to prepare students for the workforce. I do this through career assessments, resume and cover letter writing, exposing students to non-traditional careers, and implementing career events and programming.
How did you get into education? What drew you to the profession?
I decided to get into education because I wanted to help students prepare for their future. My current role as a CDF allows me to work directly with students on job coaching and preparing them for the workforce.
What is your favorite thing about education?
My favorite thing about education is that it gives me an opportunity to partner with students and help them achieve their goals. I recognize that I don’t necessarily know what is best for any individual student. Success is when a student allows me to work as a team with them to reach their goals.
Tell us about your school!
York Comprehensive High School (YCHS) is an amazing school located in York, SC, which is a picturesque upcountry town in one of the largest historic districts in the United States. Located near both Charlotte NC and Rock Hill SC, the benefits of small town life mingle with the opportunities that larger cities provide. We have over 1600 students at our school. Students at YCHS are fortunate in that our technology center, Floyd D. Johnson, is housed in the same building. Students at YCHS are able to take Advanced Placement, Honors Courses and Dual Credit courses.
How is STEM Premier helping/will help your school or district?
STEM Premier came to YCHS in March 2017 to roll out their platform in our school. Since that time, I have been contacted by businesses who are using STEM Premier to recruit students for positions with immediate openings. STEM Premier has given students a platform that allows them to connect with local employers and colleges.
Any neat stories so far? I had a student come to my office and show me his STEM Premier app on his phone. He was very excited to show me that his profile had been viewed by a local company. The next day this student informed me that his profile was now being followed by this company. The student is a senior who will be graduating in May and his next step is to enter the workforce. STEM Premier allowed this student to directly connect with a potential employer and now he is one step closer to securing a career before graduating high school.
How did you implement STEM Premier? Are there any suggestions you would have for other schools on how to best implement STEM Premier?
At YCHS we implemented STEM over a two-day period. We pre-assigned students to computer labs and facilitated rotating students in and out of the lab. STEM Premier staff led the roll-out and helped students to create profiles. We printed transcripts and gave them to students so they would have accurate information to enter into their profile.
My suggestion to other schools would be to “organize, organize, organize.” Rollout went smoothly at YCHS because we pre-assigned students to labs, we planned for how long students would be in the lab. We made a spreadsheet outlining which lab students were assigned to. We also had administration standing in the halls helping to direct students to computer labs.
What is your favorite part of the system?
My favorite part of the system is the Red Kite area. I love how accessible it makes scholarships. I often hear students say “I didn’t apply because I didn’t know about that scholarship” or “I wasn’t sure if I qualified”. This area eliminates those problems because it pre-populates scholarships that the student is qualified for.
What has your experience been with the STEM Premier team?
The STEM Premier staff who came to YCHS and helped with the rollout of STEM Premier were absolutely AMAZING. They were fun and energetic and the students responded well to them. It was evident that they were not trying to “sell” us on a product or system. They were passionate about STEM Premier and the ways it could benefit YCHS students. Prior to implementiation, they were all very helpful and were always available to answer any questions we had. I have seen their staff in the community at different events and they are like family now. I can always call on anyone on their team and get an immediate response.
What is the future impact that STEM Premier will have on your school or district?
STEM Premier will help YCHS students display their talents and academic success on a platform that will lead to job offers and connections with colleges and schools. STEM Premier will help students graduate with job offers in hand.