Reader news: Ridgewater College partners with area high schools for hands-on learning opportunities – West Central Tribune

Wilmar and Hutchinson – Palms-on studying is an effective way to be taught technical expertise. When highschool lecturers wanted to advance their expertise to make higher use of their newest know-how, they turned to Ridgewater School for assist. College and employees had been glad to reply the decision with devoted communications.

“Ridgewater is a group school,” stated Amy Birkland, Ridgewater Admissions and Outreach Specialist. “We’re right here as a useful resource, and we’re all the time seeking to collaborate and make significant connections with highschool college students, lecturers, and counselors to discover careers, group outreach, and partnerships.”

It was actually a partnership — a partnership with Steve Homberg, then Director of Outreach for the Minnesota Transportation Middle of Excellence, that set the wheel to serve and help excessive faculties within the space.

When new agriculture instructor Cassidy Withoff attended a small-engine Teaching Workshop final summer time, she had no thought how useful a gathering with Coach Homberg could be for her and her college students at Buffalo Lakes-Hector-Stewart Excessive Faculty (BLHS).


Takeover Instructor Day at Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart Excessive Faculty was a possibility for highschool lecturers and college students to enhance their technical expertise and discover careers in agriculture, manufacturing, automotive, and welding by working with Ridgewater Companions for a day. BLHS teacher Cassidy Withoff, left, learns from machine instrument teacher Greg Ryder how a pc can run a plasma water desk to chop metal sheets into usable shapes and marks.

Contributed/Ridgwater School

As a brand new instructor, Wiethoff expressed concern to Homberg about having technical consultants go to her classroom. Homberg quickly linked Withoff, Birkland, and colleague Judy Parka of the Minnesota Agricultural Middle of Excellence often called AgCentric. Collectively, they discover methods Ridgewater can help BLHS and advocate for Profession and Technical Training (CTE) pathways.


A couple of dozen Ridgewater technical school, help employees, scholar ambassadors, and Minnesota State outreach companions headed to BLHS on Instructor Acquisition Day for the primary time. Along with aiding the coaches, they’ve reached out to greater than 100 highschool college students in grades 9 by way of twelve.

About Ridgewater:

Ridgewater School is a group and technical school with campuses within the central Minnesota communities of Willmar and Hutchinson. The faculty serves greater than 5,000 college students by way of almost 100 educational packages and greater than 68,000 coaching hours for people and corporations by way of custom-made coaching and persevering with training. The faculty is a member of the state of Minnesota and is accredited by the Larger Studying Fee of the North Central Affiliation of Faculties and Colleges.

Minnesota is dwelling to 30 group and technical faculties and 7 public universities, serving about 340,000 college students. It’s the third largest system of two-year faculties and four-year universities in the US.

“The objective was to do a favor to Cassidy and Gil Grams, who’re native CTE instructors,” Birkeland defined. “That is Cassidy’s first 12 months as a instructor, so our objective was to ensure she felt supported in her new function by letting her know that Ridgewater had the assets to help her classroom. With excessive faculties combating bus bills and a scarcity of minors, we requested Cassidy, “Can we go outdoors to you!?”

Wiethoff welcomed the invitation, so 5 Ridgewater packages took their reveals on the street.

“It was a very nice day,” Witov stated. “It was nice to see these youngsters having a lot enjoyable studying.”

She had one scholar’s welding expertise that he did not need to depart to go to his subsequent class. One other scholar advised Wiethoff that he had improved a lot that welding was all he needed to do now.

“As an undergraduate instructor of technical trades, I’m all the time humbled to step into the atmosphere of our secondary establishments to absorb what they’ve to show when it comes to house, tools, and assets,” stated Greg Ryder, Ridgewater Machine Software Teacher. “Gifted lecturers jogged my memory of the significance of working collectively, collaborating, and being human.”

Ryder taught Wiethoff some fundamentals to have interaction her college students within the faculty’s laptop numerical management (CNC) instructors to discover job alternatives in manufacturing, and launched her to a computer-controlled plasma-powered water desk to chop metal sheets into usable shapes and signal work.

KellyRuewithVirtual RealitypainteratBLHS_m.jpg

An automatic digital actuality (VR) portray sales space is a success for Buffalo Lakes-Hector-Stewart Excessive Faculty college students who go to a body-worn station operated by Ridgewater’s Kelly Rue, proper.

Contributed/Ridgwater School

Automotive commerce instructors Kevin Larrison and Kelly Rowe confirmed college students how the ignition system works in a mannequin automobile, relating this to the small engines the scholars had been engaged on in school. Additionally they launched them to screening instruments for diagnosing issues similar to abnormalities.

“The digital actuality sketch sales space was nice — my youngsters had been nonetheless speaking about it after lunch,” stated Withoff.

Ridgewater’s meat-cutting teacher Sophia Toms spoke with the meals science college students, sharing particulars about this new program and the performance prospects.

Different ag matters and actions throughout instructor acquisition included undergraduate tales about how internships join studying to future careers, the significance of agricultural commodity advertising and marketing, generator disassembly, and practices to assist individuals be good stewards of their land and soil.

“The nice a part of this present day is that as college students discover completely different actions, they will relate these experiences to careers for additional exploration,” stated Tammy Howe, Ridgewater Agriculture Coordinator. “There are such a lot of nice jobs.”

“Being able to work instantly with the scholars was necessary,” stated Ridgewater Welding Teacher John Travis. The go to helped him understand the every day problem some highschool lecturers face attempting to soak up a lot content material in 50-60 minute courses when that point additionally consists of preparation and scrapping. “Now we have invited lecturers to return to Ridgewater so we will proceed to construct this relationship.”

Marshall Coaching Connection

Marshall Excessive Faculty instructor Michael Braithwaite just lately obtained a Launch Your Future Immediately (LYFT) grant to buy two automobile trainers—one for steering and suspension and one for braking. The issue was integrating them into the classroom.


Marshall Excessive Faculty instructor Michael Braithwaite led to 50 of his profession and technical training (CTE) college students with him to see the Ridgewater School campus and discover the automotive and welding packages with Ridgewater school member John Fritton, Middle.

Contributed/Ridgwater School

“By our partnership with the Minnesota Transportation Facilities of Excellence, Steve Homberg made us conscious of the coaches and that Michael may use some assist studying easy methods to successfully run the coaches together with his college students,” stated Birkeland.

After a couple of discussions Braithwaite got here to Ridgewater in December to be taught from school member John Fritton and led to 50 college students to be taught the fundamentals with him.

“Our School of Automotive Service Expertise rapidly supplied help when approaching the thought of ​​coaching each college students and instructors,” Birkeland stated.

“I discovered proper with the scholars,” Braithwaite stated, “however then over lunch the college at Ridgewater confirmed me all the additional actions I may do with the instructors and advised some instruments our college would possibly think about buying to boost the machine studying expertise even additional.”


Marshall Excessive Faculty instructor Michael Braithwaite, left, discovered the ins and outs of studying and educating with a automobile teacher from Ridgewater school member John Fritton.

Contributed/Ridgwater School

To broaden the affect of the go to, Birkeland additionally organized for the scholars to discover different areas they had been inquisitive about: bodywork collision restore and welding.

College students experimented with a transmission dynamometer, engine test instruments, diagnostic tools, a robotic welder, a welding simulator, and a digital actuality portray system.

“It was actually good for all of us,” stated Braithwaite.

As a present agricultural training instructor, he is excited to make use of the brand new instructors and expertise in his automotive courses now, but additionally when his highschool opens a brand new Profession and Technical Training (CTE) middle subsequent 12 months the place he’ll educate superior automotive and superior welding courses.

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