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. Teachers from Stratford STEM Magnet High School’s Freshman Academy had the opportunity to have an externship with their business partner, the Army Corps of Engineers.
The Freshman Academy met at the Resource Manager’s office at Old Hickory Lock and Dam where we were introduced to the Commander and Deputy, and we were provided with an overview of all the components involving the Corps of Engineers and our waterways. “Securing the Nation’s Future Through Water” began our adventure at the Dam. We also viewed demonstrations regarding the importance of protecting the landscape along the rivers’ edges as well as protecting endangered species such as bats. In addition to providing an energy source to numerous areas within our state and outside of our state, the water system has been improved to include water storage areas through new dams.
Our group was provided a behind the scenes tour inside the dam, the control room, and the lock. The amazing aspect of this location is that all of the equipment is original equipment dating back to the 1960’s. After our tour and PowerPoint presentations, our group proceeded to Drakes Creek off of Saundersville Road in Hendersonville where we measured various points of erosion in the creek to determine problem areas preserving the natural habit of the areas. Our education with The Corp of Engineers left us with the knowledge that there are numerous opportunities within the Corp for our students at Stratford after graduation including several paid training jobs that do not require a college degree.