Strong relationships with local academy partners is the key to building effective business engagement in our high schools. The Academies of Nashville provide students with meaningful, hands-on learning in context through unique partnerships with local businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. The Teacher Team Externship Program gives teachers an opportunity to have a real-world professional experience at a host organization to develop a project-based curriculum that gives students industry exposure and applied learning.
If you look at a map of Tennessee’s rivers and lakes, hundreds of blue veins criss-cross the state in all shapes and sizes. From the mighty Cumberland River flowing through downtown Nashville to the smallest stream in your backyard, Tennessee waterways shape both the landscape and the economy of the state. Two teachers from Cane Ridge’s Academy of Architecture and Construction attended a three-day externship with the Army Corp of Engineers in order to understand the vast impact the organization has on Metro Nashville and Davidson County.
Check out the team’s photos below to learn more about their externship experience.
The first day of the externship included an in depth overview of the US Army Corp of Engineers in order to learn the mission, values, and overall scope and complexity of the organization.
The second day of the externship included a plan review and site visit to the Cheatham Lock and Dam project. The work that was on display was a result of the May 2010 floods where these buildings were under water. The visit also included a tour of the power plant located within the dam.
“There were so many points of interest it was very difficult to narrow them down,” said Harold Cunningham, a teacher at Cane Ridge High School. “I feel the highlights of the externship were the complexity of the US Army Corps of Engineers and their scope of work. I also was very impressed with the love and pride every employee we spoke with has in being a part of the organization.”
The locks and dams on Tennessee rivers have a significant impact on the economy of the region. Shipping goods by barge keeps more than 70 semi-trucks or 15 rail cars off Tennessee roads and railways. Through barge transportation, there is a reduction in highway traffic, fuel consumption, air pollution, wear and tear on the highways, and the number of tires sent to the landfill.
There were several lessons the teachers picked up from the externship experience with the US Army Corps of Engineers. The interdisciplinary project designed is based on the need for proper scheduling and budgeting. Students will work in teams to create and design a project that will allow them to procure supplies, allocate materials, and manage a budget.
Students will begin to understand and implement 21st Century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration. They will also be provided with the opportunity to examine and explore the role that the US Army Corps of Engineers has played in the development of Nashville and surrounding counties.