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 abilities. When highschool lecturers wanted to advance their abilities to make higher use of their newest expertise, they turned to Ridgewater Faculty for assist. College and employees have been glad to reply the decision with devoted communications.

“Ridgewater is a group faculty,” stated Amy Birkland, Ridgewater Admissions and Outreach Specialist. “We’re right here as a useful resource, and we’re at all times trying 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 Heart of Excellence, that set the wheel to serve and help excessive faculties within the space.

When new agriculture trainer Cassidy Withoff attended a small-engine Teaching Workshop final summer season, she had no concept how useful a gathering with Coach Homberg can 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 chance for highschool lecturers and college students to enhance their technical abilities 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 Faculty

As a brand new trainer, Wiethoff expressed concern to Homberg about having technical consultants go to her classroom. Homberg quickly related Withoff, Birkland, and colleague Judy Parka of the Minnesota Agricultural Heart of Excellence referred to as AgCentric. Collectively, they discover methods Ridgewater can help BLHS and advocate for Profession and Technical Schooling (CTE) pathways.


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

About Ridgewater:

Ridgewater Faculty is a group and technical faculty with campuses within the central Minnesota communities of Willmar and Hutchinson. The faculty serves greater than 5,000 college students via almost 100 tutorial packages and greater than 68,000 coaching hours for people and corporations via custom-made coaching and persevering with schooling. The faculty is a member of the state of Minnesota and is accredited by the Greater Studying Fee of the North Central Affiliation of Schools 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 USA.

“The objective was to do a favor to Cassidy and Gil Grams, who’re native CTE instructors,” Birkeland defined. “That is Cassidy’s first yr as a trainer, so our objective was to verify she felt supported in her new position by letting her know that Ridgewater had the sources to help her classroom. With excessive faculties fighting bus bills and an absence of minors, we requested Cassidy, “Can we go exterior to you!?”

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

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

She had one pupil’s welding expertise that he did not wish to depart to go to his subsequent class. One other pupil instructed Wiethoff that he had improved a lot that welding was all he wished to do now.

“As an undergraduate trainer of technical trades, I’m at all times humbled to step into the setting of our secondary establishments to soak up what they’ve to show when it comes to area, gear, and sources,” 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 college’s pc 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 Faculty

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

“The digital actuality sketch sales space was nice — my children have 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 potentialities.

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

“The nice a part of this present day is that as college students discover totally 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 immediately with the scholars was vital,” stated Ridgewater Welding Teacher John Travis. The go to helped him notice the each day problem some highschool lecturers face attempting to soak up a lot content material in 50-60 minute lessons when that point additionally contains preparation and scrapping. “We’ve invited lecturers to return to Ridgewater so we will proceed to construct this relationship.”

Marshall Coaching Connection

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


Marshall Excessive Faculty trainer Michael Braithwaite caused 50 of his profession and technical schooling (CTE) college students with him to see the Ridgewater Faculty campus and discover the automotive and welding packages with Ridgewater college member John Fritton, Heart.

Contributed/Ridgwater Faculty

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

After just a few discussions Braithwaite got here to Ridgewater in December to be taught from college member John Fritton and caused 50 college students to be taught the fundamentals with him.

“Our Faculty of Automotive Service Expertise shortly provided help when approaching the thought of ​​coaching each college students and instructors,” Birkeland stated.

“I realized proper with the scholars,” Braithwaite stated, “however then over lunch the school at Ridgewater confirmed me all the additional actions I might do with the instructors and advised some instruments our faculty may take into account buying to reinforce the machine studying expertise even additional.”


Marshall Excessive Faculty trainer Michael Braithwaite, left, realized the ins and outs of studying and educating with a automotive teacher from Ridgewater college member John Fritton.

Contributed/Ridgwater Faculty

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

College students experimented with a transmission dynamometer, engine test instruments, diagnostic gear, 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 schooling trainer, he is excited to make use of the brand new instructors and abilities in his automotive lessons now, but additionally when his highschool opens a brand new Profession and Technical Schooling (CTE) heart subsequent yr the place he’ll train superior automotive and superior welding lessons.

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