Montpelier High School sophomore Maya Facciolo didn't spend her Monday afternoon in class. She wasn't skipping but interning at the Conservation Law Foundation.
“It's just a great way to explore your interests and develop new ones. So who knows maybe I’ll go into environmental law I don't know yet,” Facciolo said.
What Facciolo does know is that she's glad she joined SOAR, Montpelier High's program that allows her to design her own curriculum and experience internships.
“I'm here just four hours a week but I think a lot happens in those four hours,” Facciolo said.
Martha Allen, President of Vermont National Educators Association, agrees. At a news conference in Montpelier Monday she outlined the NEA’s initiatives heading into the new year.
Allowing students to gain workplace experience is near the top.
“Collaborating with businesses in our community in recognition that our public schools are our most important economic development tool,” Allen said.
The Vermont NEA says there are other initiatives they'd like to tackle.
Those include installing more rigorous standards for students and teachers, but less standardized testing. The Vermont NEA also wants to recruit the best and brightest teachers to our state.
A statewide survey of teachers indicates time is an issue among educators. They say there's just not enough time to work on things like lesson plans in the course of the school day.
“The issue of time came up again and again and the issue of the need for more professional learning opportunities,” Allen said.
That's something Maya Facciolo recommends for her classmates as well.
“I think more students should be able to get this opportunity,” Facciolo said.