internshipIn school innovation, we often talk about students gaining “real” world experience. Of authentic learning that is high stakes and meaningful and taps into imbedded skills and passions. We talk about these things because they are so important and we have so much room to grow as a school community. But, as we research and create, it’s also good in our work to be aware of what programming already exists that highlights and honors some of our most cherished ideals.

TIPS is an internship program run at Burlington High School through Linking Learning to Life (Note: LLL is soon to be “Navicate”) which is focused on putting students in real world situations that can stimulate and challenge them. Jenna Geery, who is an Americorps VISTA currently working with the program at BHS, attended the Partnership for Change’s recent Community Learning Conversation and noticed that many of the character traits and skills that panelists and participants highlighted are ones she sees her TIPS students experiencing every day. She said that “themes such as self reflection, communication, financial literacy, innovation, problem solving and adaptability came up.  This class [TIPS] covers all of these topics and allows students to explore their interests while gaining work experience through a 20 hour pre-employment skills course, and 40 hour unpaid internship in a career field of their choice!”

Fardowsa Ibrahim, a BHS student who is interested in school change and authentic education, participated in TIPS and a short movie was made about her experience working at a local nursing home. Check it out here. Very cool stuff. Interested in learning more about TIPS or Navicate (formerly LLL)? Contact Jenna Geery at or Kerry Hill (, who directs all internship programming in Chittenden County.



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