Every day is career day in SBISD Teacher Laura Sigworth’s class.
Sigworth, the Upper School science dept. chair at Spring Branch ISD’s Westchester Academy for International Studies (WAIS), is one of the countless district educators who champion building career and job skills as part of delivering quality instruction and T-2-4 for Every Child.
The district’s T-2-4 goal for every student supports all graduates attaining a technical certificate, military training, or a two- or four-year college degree.
“Most student will find themselves in future careers and jobs that involve collaboration and multidisciplinary interactions on a daily basis,” said Sigworth. “Providing student with a more realistic experience for future endeavors benefits them and future employers.”
This realistic experience took the form of a Ted Talk styled series of presentations that marked the culmination of a six-week long, interdisciplinary student learning collaboration called the Group 4 IB Project for a team of WAIS science and technology teachers and their students.
IB stands for International Baccalaureate. WAIS offers both high school and middle school options for students interested in earning a coveted IB Diploma upon program completion.
Science students in WAIS’s IB Programme must complete a Group 4 Project as part of the program curriculum.
This project calls on students to use so-called “soft skills” while applying their knowledge of IB biology, chemistry, physics, and computer science to propose a solution to weather patterns affected by human behavior patterns.
The Group 4 Project focuses on building critical skills such as interdisciplinary collaboration, teamwork, strategic planning, data collection, solution-based problem solving, all of which reflect on the development of complimentary soft skills.
“This project puts a diverse range of students together. It creates situations that require innovation, technology-infused learning, and people management,” said Sigworth. “It helps students grow.”
It’s the people management aspect of the project that possibly best defines soft skills – skills increasingly desired by employers and the projected future job market many students will face after high school graduation.
“The behaviors associated with soft skills undergird the academic work that students do at WAIS,” said campus Director Valerie Muniz. “The IB Programme is shaped by the ideas of collaboration in a world of diversity.”
Emotional intelligence, leadership, flexibility, creativity, communications, critical thinking, and self-motivation are a few of the many soft skills students at WAIS are exercising as part of the school’s IB Programme and the Group 4 IB Project.
“We must give students space and time to exercise and apply skills like those used in this project,” said Muniz. “Students can’t afford to wait.
Submitted by Melissa Wiland, SBISD Communications