Chard Reid, Prairie Trace Elementary Assistant Principal, returns to CHS as first Internship Coordinator

Ryan Zhang

Chard Reid, incoming Internship Coordinator

What led up to you becoming an Internship Coordinator?

Well, just my experience at CHS was a piece that I think has prepared me for this role and then also just what I’ve been doing the last few years has given me a lot of opportunities to collaborate and work with other people and to explore areas that are new to me. 

Did you apply to this position or were you offered/recommended for it?

(CHS Principal) Tim Phares and I had a conversation and just (the position) was one of those things that we both agreed it sounds like a good fit. With my skill set and my passion which is really just helping people, helping students find what they want to do with their life. That’s a passion of mine and that’s something that I was always able to do with Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) and helping kids kind of get plugged in with vocational opportunities. So, like with DECA it involved working with local businesses on projects. What I like about this is it’s not just business. It’s working with all career technical opportunities.

What does an internship coordinator do?

My major function will be collaborating with internal stakeholders, specifically teachers of the Career Technical Education (CTE) courses, the CTE courses is what we call them. (It starts) with counseling and Melinda Stephan is our College & Career Resource Center Coordinator in the counseling department, but then also with with administration internally, and then collaborating with businesses in the community, to create opportunities, and then figuring out okay, where can we place kids to give them the best, most meaningful and authentic learning experience through an internship. So basically, I’m going to start working with businesses and creating opportunities this semester, so trying to figure out, would you be interested in having internships and what might that look like in your workplace. Then as students sign up for the capstone courses, then I’ll work with your teachers to help figure out what that experience need to look like. Because, I’m not an expert in engineering. I’m an expert in business, but I’m not an expert in engineering. So I need to collaborate with teachers to figure out what that looks like. What would an appropriate internship in engineering look like or what would an appropriate automotive internship look like? Then once we’ve worked together, we can find the proper placement for students. So it’s mainly going to be you’ve got juniors who have taken those concentrator courses in the CTE pathways and then as a senior they take a capstone, which is their internship. 

As an Internship Coordinator, do you work with students or is it mainly businesses?

It’s both. One of my favorite things in the world is just having meaningful conversations with students who are trying to figure out life and I’m really, really excited about that. I’ll actually have the opportunity to go observe them when they are at their internship and connect with the employer and make sure everything’s going well and see if there’s other opportunities that we need to look at for the remainder of the internship if things aren’t going well or if there’s things that it’s going so well that we want to do a little bit more with. So it’s going to be working with both businesses and students.

Why should students be interested in internships? 

An internship is a work based learning experience where you’re applying what you’ve learned, through a series of courses. You’re applying what you’ve learned in a series of courses into a meaningful and authentic learning experience. So they’re working a job in real business and applying all of the things that they’ve learned in their coursework. It’s important because, number one, for a lot of students, this is a potential career path that they think they may be interested in. So if that’s the case, it’s an opportunity to figure out is this for me and for some folks, they’re going to find out I don’t like this path, but it’s going to save them a lot of time and energy in college, figuring that out, and it’s going to save them a lot of money consequently. For other people, it’s an opportunity to really go deep into what they want to do and build connections for the future. So if somebody is really excited and has a really positive internship experience, and they realize this is what I want to do for the rest of my life, they’re building connections with local businesses, that may get them a job someday.

What is your goal as an Internship Coordinator?

More than anything, I want to give them those meaningful and authentic learning experiences related to their career and help them explore what what careers correct for them and help them make connections with folks who are going to help them not only advance their skills related to their career, but also folks who are going to be valuable connections as they look for jobs someday.

Is there anything I haven’t asked that a reader might like to know?

The big thing I would want people to know the point of this, of the internships, is to and I know I’ve said it a few times because I want to reiterate it, but, I’m huge on giving kids an authentic learning experience. Like I want them to be able to feel like they see why they’ve been learning what they’ve been learning in the classroom and they’re able to apply it into a real life job and it’s not going to be like working a summer job. These are going to be really career focused. internship opportunities.

Ryan Zhang

Tim Phares, CHS Principal

Were you involved in the transition of Chard Reid becoming an Internship Coordinator? 

I am and have been part of it. Now the transition is still going on and so the thing with this position called a “work-based learning coordinator” is that this position is currently being funded through a grant. Once we knew that we’re awarded the grant, we were trying to look at different individuals that might be within the corporation that could potentially fill this role and (Prairie Trace Elementary Assistant Principal) Chard Reid’s name came up and he has worked here at CHS in the past, has some interest in this area and we think that he will be a great fit to return to CHS and to help our students get in positions to where they can meet some capstones in some of the classes that they would be taking.

When is Chard Reid becoming the internship coordinator?

Right now he’s already that person. So when I say that he’s not in the building yet, that’s the transition piece that I just kind of mentioned. So officially, he won’t take his role until September. We’re thinking around Sept. 26. However, we are spending some time together and kind of planning and talking and discussing about his role once he gets on board.

When was the decision made? 

This has been kind of ongoing, it’s been in conversation, but we had to wait to financially be able to do it just because of a grant. So, once we were awarded that grant, we started talking. It was probably the middle of July, thinking that this might be a potential and then it took some more time and more time and just lots of conversations and planning and making sure that it was the right fit for all of us. And we sat down with Mr. Reid and he and he interviewed with some of our staff members here and to see if we felt like he might be the right fit and we felt like he was. 

How is this new position related to changes within graduation requirements?

You may be familiar of, or heard your counselors talk about, graduation pathways. So, as the state of Indiana has created different pathways for students to meet graduation requirements, a work-based learning coordinator position is really going to help our students meet one of those pathways and so that’s something that we’re working towards and we’ve got some big plans and ideas that we think will benefit our students as we look to different pathways for students to graduate from CHS. 

Is Chard Reid CHS’s first Internship Coordinator? 

That is true. The word “internship” is kind of not the word we try to use. So, we’re trying to use more of what’s called a “work-based learning coordinator position” because the reason being is it’s not like, let’s say, you want to get an internship; that’s not what this is about right now. We’re not saying it couldn’t morph into something like that, but right now looking at the classes that we offer within our program of studies that meet graduation pathways requirements, there’s a capstone involved. Those are the classes and courses that we’re looking at to be able to match kids up with an internship.

What will Chard Reid be doing in this position?

He’ll be doing lots of different things. One of the biggest things he’ll be doing is collaborating with local organizations and businesses to try to create (opportunities). Because, it’s not a matter of we just walk out the door and say, “Oh, we want to go here because this is a great opportunity.” We have to make sure that our needs and our student needs are being met that they’re getting an experience to help them learn and grow that they’re not just working. They’re not just going there to have a job. That’s not the point of this. The point of this is for you to benefit from it, for you to understand what this type of job might look like, what this business does, what do you have to do to be able to be an accountant or a nurse or just different areas and we want you to gain something out of it not just be on the payroll of some business, so to speak.

What kind of qualifications must this kind of coordinator have?

First and foremost, we have to have a current teaching license for the state which Mr. Reid does. The benefit Mr. Reid also has is an administrative license which adds a whole nother level of schooling and degree and so with that, we also want it to be a person that has important communication skills. We want this person to be able to know that they can have resources that they can go out and have a go getter type of personality, and we think Mr. Reid meets all those qualifications to be an internship, work-based coordinator.

Is there anything I haven’t asked but a reader might like to know?

No, just that I think this is a great opportunity for our students. It’s a great opportunity for years to come and we know this is going to continue to build and grow and it will take us a couple of years to kind of see where this goes, but what an opportunity for CHS Greyhounds. 

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