Special to The Dallas Examiner
NAF is a national non-profit educational organization that brings businesses and community leaders together to help resolve challenges in education. NAF academies fit within and enhance school systems, allowing NAF to become an integral part of a plan for higher achievement at a low cost. Its academies focus on one of five career themes: finance, hospitality and tourism, information technology, engineering, and health sciences. During the 2017-18 school year, more than 100,000 students attended 644 NAF academies across 36 states, including DC and the US Virgin Islands. In 2017, NAF academies reported 97 percent of seniors graduated with 90 percent of graduates with post-secondary intentions.
Earlier this month, NAF held its IT Academy, a two-week immersive program in Plano. During the academy, Capital One associates shared forward-leaning practices and technology they have applied on the job with two Dallas ISD teachers from Skyline High School and South Oak Cliff High School.
Through this intensive technology program and its exponential learning, externs are able to “teach the teachers,” since they will then share their learned skills with other educators who can integrate this knowledge into students’ education, and thus impact more students as a result.
Capital One externs are integrated into cross-functional teams where they participate in a collaborative, learning environment. Workforce training skills include:
• Agile methodology for project management processes
• Problem solving
• Coding and app development
• Design thinking
• Python programming language
Capital One recruiters also meet with the externs to give them a look at what employers are looking for in candidates so that educators can help shape curriculum to meet future industry needs. Today, teachers worked with their mentors from the financial corporation on app development.
“In the classroom while giving a demonstration, it’s important to make sure students are comprehending the curriculum. This app deals with Multiple Response Strategies so that the presenter uses the app and clicks a button or shakes the device to populate strategies to engage the audience,” said Darion Walton who teaches Web Technology and Web Design at Skyline High School and the NAF IT Academy.
One strategy is “turn and talk” so that students discuss the subject matter with other students as well as the teacher. That way, the teacher can assess if the lesson is being comprehended or if further learning is needed.
“Our objective is for 90 to 100 percent of students to retain the information being taught and understand it well before the bell rings,” he added.
With the quality education that teachers provide, educators nurture our future workforce and help prepare youth for success.
“This externship helps me prep students for college and future jobs with the career pathways available to them that are innovative on what’s trending in the business, especially in IT,” said Euranie Patin, who teaches Principals of Technology, Digital Media and Web Technology at South Oak Cliff High School and the NAF IT Academy.
The financial corporation believes that businesses have an opportunity and responsibility to develop the talent pipeline for future jobs. This commitment comes to life with Future Edge. In 2015, Capital One launched Future Edge, an initiative that pledged $150 million over five years to help more Americans get the skills, tools and resources they need to succeed in the 21st century. As part of this initiative, Future Edge DFW symbolizes the conglomerate’s commitment to make Dallas/Fort Worth a destination for top talent, spur growth as a world-renowned technology hub and nurture leaders of tomorrow.
“The knowledge of workforce digital skills learned through this externship, which I will share with my students, will help spark their interest in taking more tech classes in high school and in college so that they can then work in the career of their choice since IT is embedded in all industries,” Patin added.
NAF works to ensure that high school students are college, career and future ready. It works with high need communities to transform the high school experience through an educational design that includes industry-specific curricula, work-based learning experiences, and relationships with business professionals, culminating in a paid internship.
“There’s only so much I can teach from a book or video, but real-world experience is the way to get students really engaged because if you’re excited about something, then students get excited as well.
My externship will increase student interaction by them wanting to do internships after hearing about my experience. They will see the value,” Walton explained.
He added that sharing his externship experience will also help students take more interest in technology jobs since they will no longer see these careers as just being about numbers.
“I can share with them how tech helps corporations see what customers want, as well as answer their questions and how it helps with projects. With me sharing the knowledge I’ve learned through this externship, it will open up students’ minds about their career opportunities in technology,” he said.