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World of Work Week brings career experts to classrooms via live video

World of Work Week brings career experts to classrooms via live video
Students in Amanda Hart's second-grade class at John H. Eader Elementary School in Huntington Beach listen to a professional illustrator talk about his career. (Courtesy of Huntington Beach City School District)

Beginning Monday, the Huntington Beach City School District will participate in a week-long event for a new program that connects students and teachers with industry professionals.

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World of Work Week is presented by Nepris, a platform that enables teachers to connect with people in various careers to speak in their classrooms via video chat.

“It allows professionals to talk with students live and offer their insight on what they do, what they did to prepare for their careers and their backgrounds,” said Monica Nash, a teacher on special assignment for Huntington Beach City.

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One classroom will hear from a Disney Imagineer who works on the design and engineering of Disney theme parks and attractions. Another class will talk to a whale naturalist from Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.

“Teachers can use this in their lessons when it’s applicable,” Nash said. “Maybe students did a project and they can have a professional provide feedback.”

Nepris is a subscription-based program that charges a yearly fee of $2,500. OC STEM Initiative, an area partnership of parents, teachers and community members, sponsored Huntington Beach City’s subscription to Nepris this school year. OC STEM stands for Orange County Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

In addition to helping teachers pair up with industry professionals for live chats, Nepris keeps a large library of recorded talks that classes can watch anytime.

Amanda Hart, a second-grade teacher at Huntington Beach City’s John H. Eader Elementary School, has already used Nepris once in her classroom, inviting an illustrator to speak to her students.

The next chats she plans include one with a botanist to correspond with a lesson on bees and pollination and one with a baker to demonstrate how math measurements are applicable outside of school.

“One thing I really like about it is that it gives students real-life experience with what they learn about in class,” Hart said. “Especially with math and science. It’s not enough to have hands-on experience. It’s important to talk to people in the field to gain interest.”

Hart said her students loved Nepris and have been asking every day about when they will get to talk to someone new.

“Now I see the benefits of all the extra, cross-curricular learning students can do with this,” she said.

Nash said Huntington Beach City is encouraging teachers to use the service beyond World of Work Week and throughout the school year. The goal is for at least one classroom in each of the district’s nine schools to participate.

“It has really inspired us to go out and find our own industry partners to have,” Nash said. “We’re excited to bring around career-minded people and have that live connection.”

The district is pursuing grants to be able to continue working with Nepris.

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