The Experiential Program's purpose is to provide students with research, teaching, and service learning experiences in community organizations and businesses - experiences that will enable students to discover and develop confidence in their ability to engage in productive and significant work and to foster a tangible commitment to the community in which they live.
The Graham School's Experiential Program offers students the opportunity to enter into a real-world setting and tackle real-world issues and problems. Students leave the school building and enter the community to offer their talents and helping hands while the community offers students the chance to learn about opportunities and challenges in a work and educational environment. The Graham School's Experiential Program offers students exposure to various means and methods of learning.
The Graham School's Experiential Program requires its students to demonstrate increasing responsibility, independence and self-direction. This program provides an initial introduction to experiential work and connects students to the community. Graham School teachers work closely with students in this program. Teachers act as guides and learning facilitators with students and their partner site mentors.
In keeping with our mission to “encounter the world, engage the mind,” we offer students from the ninth grade forward experiential education opportunities both in and outside of the classroom. Students spend Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the school and Tuesday and Thursday at one of our community partner sites for total of 8 to 10 hours per week.
The internship lasts the entire school year. Site partners include agencies, schools, hospitals, and a variety of local businesses. Students are encouraged to explore their interests and career options, as well as learn about their responsibility within our community. These partnering sites share common vision with The Graham School by valuing mentoring and community engagement for high school students. Classroom work in traditional and non-traditional courses helps students acquire conceptual and factual knowledge and develop critical thinking, research, and teamwork skills. Through the work at community partner sites, students learn to be professional, self-directed, and reflective. These internships develop a student’s confidence in their ability to do productive and significant work and form a tangible commitment to their community. The combination of classroom and internship work creates well-rounded students who are prepared for life after high school.
The Graham Difference: Experiential Learning
In its most basic definition, experiential learning is learning by doing. It is a process by which learners gain knowledge and acquire skills through critically reflecting on a direct experience. Through reflection, the learner connects new knowledge to past experience, finds insightful patterns through analyzing the experience, and applies those new discoveries to everyday life situations. This leads to a change in thinking and behavior when encountering the next experience, whether in or out of the classroom.
At Graham, we provide students with experiential learning opportunities through research, teaching, and service learning experiences in community organizations and businesses as well as in the classroom. The Experiential Program presents students with real-world issues and problems to tackle in a structured work environment. Working with mentors at our partner sites, students recognize and use their strengths and interests to contribute to the community. During their time at Graham, students take on increased responsibility for their own work and learning both in the classroom and at their internship sites. With this increased responsibility, we challenge students to reflect on what their experience is teaching them about themselves and their role in the community. In this way, Graham students build a solid foundation for their post-Graham life.