Going above and beyond to incorporate workforce readiness and employability skills for English Learner (EL) newcomers at Crossville High School (CHS) is exactly what Mrs. Donielle Hall is doing in her first year as the EL teacher at Crossville High School.
Counselor Magon McAnelly saw that this group of students were not as college and career ready as the other students.
“I wanted to integrate workforce development content into the EL courses for newcomers at CHS. I asked Mrs. Hall if she would be interested, and the rest is history. She took the idea and ran with it,” McAnelly commented.
Mrs. Hall has approximately 60 newcomers at CHS. Newcomers are defined as a student who has been in a United States school three years or less. These Crossville students came to the school with limited English language acquisition skills. Mrs. Hall started researching resources for this class, which led her to Alabama’s Ready to Work Program.
Mrs. Hall was trained to teach Ready to Work by Tony May, Educational Specialist for Career Technical Education, Workforce Development, Work-Based Learning/Ready to Work/Data Analysis, at the Alabama State Department of Education.
According to alabamareadytowork.org, Alabama’s Ready to Work program, operated by the Alabama Community College System in cooperation with AIDT, provides a career pathway for individuals with limited education and employment experience. Ready to Work’s workplace environment provides trainees the entry-level skills required for employment with most businesses and industries in Alabama. The Ready to Work curriculum is set to standards cited by business and industry employers throughout the state.
Upon completing the Ready to Work Program and earning 70 percent or higher on comprehensive assessments, students will receive the Alabama Certified Worker Certificate and receive the National Career Readiness Certificate after graduating.
The program is designed in a six-week module, but Hall would like to extend the curriculum to a nine-week program aligned to the school’s academic semesters.
“The goal is to use the curriculum to help students with workforce essentials. We have even started talking about how we may expand this to more groups of students next year,” said McAnelly.
Hall has also reached out to Job Corps, North Alabama Community College, Snead State Community College, and past CHS graduates in business and industry to speak to her classes.
One of her students has been employed already through her efforts, which also include discussing and practicing interview skills in class.” I am so excited she got the job! We practiced and practiced, and she was hired,” stated Hall.
“We are excited to partner with the DeKalb County Career and Technical Education’s Work-Based Learning program as well,” McAnelly said.
Jonathan Phillips, CTE Director for DeKalb County Schools, stated, “The Work-Based Learning Program is a great program allowing students to learn those important life skills and employability skills that only experience and on the job training provide.”
Crossville High School’s Principal, Mr. Jon Peppers, commented, “Any time we are able to get some real-world solutions for employment and information that better our students’ ability to get jobs, especially for our newcomers, then I believe we are doing a great service for our students. Mrs. Hall and Mrs. McAnelly have a passion for our EL/Newcomer students, and they do a great job helping these students grow.”
Article and photo courtesy of Dr. Amy Dyar, Work-Based Learning Coordinator for DeKalb County Schools
Pictured: Mrs. Donielle Hall teaches Ready to Work in Crossville High School’s English Learner class