Structure and Requirements
Students are expected to spend Tuesdays and Thursdays at an internship throughout their high school career. The purpose is not for the student to function as an employee, but rather to develop a relationship with a mentoring adult professional and a real-world project to deepen learning and help students discover their professional interests.
Below are the minimum requirements, but the expectation is that all students spend nearly all Tuesdays and Thursdays at an internship, with the exception of freshmen in September as they participate in LTI orientation.
101: 100 Hours plus Three Shadow Days and/or Informational Interviews
201: 200 Hours plus Two Shadow Days and/or Informational Interviews
301: 250 Hours plus Two Shadow Days and/or Informational Interviews
401: 250 Hours plus One Shadow Day and/or Informational Interview
Hours (In-Person): At the start of the internship, mentor and student agree on arrival and departure times for Tuesdays and Thursdays when school is in session. Most students intern from 4-6 hours a day. Hours do not need to align with school hours.
Hours (Remote): Students participating in remote internships are expected to meet virtually with their mentor, ideally Tuesdays and Thursdays, and spend the rest of their work time on those days engaged in their internship project at home or school.
Time Span: Internship commitments can span just a few weeks or even multiple school years, depending on what works for the mentor and student. We ask mentors to commit to at least one learning cycle, but not all are able to do so.
Many students come to Gibson Ek with high expectations for a “perfect” internship, or they arrive without clear ideas about interests, skills or career goals. The LTI coordinator and the student’s advisor will guide new students through career and personality exploration activities, and we encourage students to remain open to a realistic variety of experiences. Gibson Ek’s ImBlaze database offers numerous possibilities, but students are encouraged to reach out to friends and family for opportunities, whether for themselves or another. By working together as a community, Gibson Ek staff, students, and families can develop a diverse internship database.
Shadow day: Many mentors or students request to begin with a shadow day or informational interview, which allows the mentor and student to meet to determine whether an internship would be a good fit. The advisor in most cases will attend as well. If this meeting is in-person rather than virtual, students should complete a shadow day (field trip) permission form for the front office.
Setting up the internship: When the mentor and student have agreed to the internship, the LTI should be informed and will begin the Internship Agreement and background check process. The Internship Agreement must be signed (usually electronically) by the mentor, the advisor, the student and the student’s parent or guardian. This paperwork should be complete before the student may begin attending the internship. If this was not done during the shadow day, the student’s advisor (teacher) should meet with mentor and student to establish routines and goals, help determine a project, and confirm attendance or virtual meeting hours.
Transportation: Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from internship sites, whether that be walking, driving or taking a city bus. Students and families should be certain they can manage transportation before starting an internship.
Internship Attendance and Expectations
Logging attendance: After the internship is approved, it will become active in ImBlaze, the system (app and online) Gibson Ek uses to track attendance. Each student MUST log in and out every Tuesday and Thursday, even if they are interning remotely. This is how our office staff tracks mandatory school attendance. Mentors receive emails to confirm the attendance.
Tardies or absences: Students should ALWAYS be early or on time for their internship or virtual mentor meetings. If something unexpected interferes, or if a student must be late or absent for any reason, the student must notify their mentor and advisor as soon as possible. Additionally, because internship days are normal school days, the parent or guardian should excuse the absence through the Gibson Ek office just as they would on any school day. BOTH actions should occur every time.
Dress: Students should dress according to the expectations of that workplace, even for virtual meetings in a remote internship. Students should ask the mentor what is appropriate if it’s not obvious. In nearly every case, students would be expected to present themselves as more “covered up” in a workplace than fashion might dictate in casual life. The complaints we receive most often are about students who wear clothing that is unprofessionally revealing for a workplace environment.
Professional etiquette (In-Person): Interning can be a little scary; students often don’t know what to expect in a workplace or how to act. But that’s OK! The key to success is a willingness to learn -- it’s not about doing everything perfectly from the start. Our mentors sacrifice their time to teach and support students, so we expect students to arrive ready and open to learning, which means maintaining a friendly and helpful attitude, asking questions about things they don’t know, and listening actively to answers and guidance. Students should stay off their phones and make friendly eye contact.
Professional etiquette (Remote): Even during virtual meetings with mentors, students should follow the professional etiquette rules above. They also should ensure that they know how to work the video meeting tech, and that they have a quiet space, bright lighting and an appropriate background. The LTI coordinator and advisor will provide more guidance on these details
Communication: Students should use only their Gibson Ek email (not personal) for email communications, and should ensure an adult looks over initial emails or anything else sent to or from the office environment. Students should keep their language professional and positive in written and verbal communications.
Work Site or Virtual Meeting Visits
Whether in-person or remote, advisors will be visiting with students and mentors on a regular basis (usually twice each learning cycle), and the LTI coordinator may visit occasionally. The advisor may spend time observing the student, talking to the student, helping the student with internship project work, or meeting with the mentor.
Internship Work: Projects and Reflections
Interns are expected to be engaged in learning through a project that aligns with the internship. The mentor and advisor can help develop an appropriate project. More help and guidance is available on our Internship Projects web page. This project work should be displayed proudly in your portfolio and submitted to Dashboard for competencies. The mentor may also assign some routine tasks to the intern that may or may not match the project, but we want interns to be helpful! Finally, interns must write an internship reflection at the end of each learning cycle that should be uploaded to the portfolio.
Ending the Internship
The mentor and student might mutually agree that the internship work and goals have been met, or the student may wish to try out a different career field, or the mentor or student may believe the fit is not positive for one or both sides. Whatever the case, A STUDENT SHOULD NEVER SIMPLY STOP SHOWING UP TO AN INTERNSHIP OR TO VIRTUAL MEETINGS. This is highly unprofessional. Instead, the mentor and student should first discuss the internship ending and set an end date. At this point, both parties — mentor and student — should immediately notify the advisor and the LTI coordinator. The student should ensure that any pending work is completed, and mentor and student will be asked to provide written feedback about the experience. Students should send thank you notes to the mentor and any other relevant employees.
Note that if a student wishes to try a different placement, the best course of action is to talk to the advisor and pursue other options WHILE continuing with the original internship, rather than quitting and then deciding later what to do next. The advisor can help the student phase out of one and into the next after the second internship has been secured.
[This information is from our 2020-21 Student Handbook PDF. Please reach out to Casey Henry, LTI coordinator, with questions.]