Every February, regular coursework pauses and students work closely with a mentor to create unique, rigorous and applied learning experiences in search of their Ikigai. Each year, dozens of area businesses and organizations participate in I-Term.
Freshmen and sophomores attend workshops and talk to visiting speakers from different careers. These workshops are called Exposiums, and are designed to help students learn and be inspired about the local economy and various career pathway possibilities. Presenters talk about their companies, why they are located in Tech Valley, what their jobs are, why they love their jobs, potential career opportunities and desirable employee attributes.
Students also travel to local businesses as a group to learn more.
At the end of the week, Freshmen present their findings on whether they have found their Ikigai. In the course of their research, freshmen interview a professional who works in a career that interests them, and conduct research . Sophomores also conduct interviews and individual research. At the end of the week, they give a presentation called a PechaKucha, a format in which the presenter shows 20 images each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and the presenter talks along to the images.
The level of career exposure and individuality advances for upperclassmen. Juniors spend a week shadowing a professional in the area of their choice. In the end, they give TED talks about their experiences and findings.
Seniors spend two weeks at job shadow experience sites and work alongside professionals. From that experience, they create an artifact to represent their work. Seniors present their work in the spring to a panel of their peers, faculty and business professionals.
In addition to career exposure, I-term also allows students to explore their passions. They participate in Paedeia (pronounced “pie-day-ah”), in which faculty, staff, parents and community members teach fun, project-based mini courses or workshops around a topic or skill. Topics include Aikido, music and podcast recording, craft sewing, herpetology: keeping reptiles & amphibians, comic book collecting, medieval armor, weapons & combat, origami and chess.
What our alumni say about I-Term
“The skills I learned such as how to reach out and network and contact people on my own help me succeed in the real world,”
said Cullen Utermark, Class of 2014.
“I’ve always had an interest in medicine, but because of all the confidentiality laws I’ve never been able to actually get a feel for the field. My experiences at TVHS, especially I-Term, exposed me to not only medical practitioners but also various other people in the medical field,” said Rokeya Sultana, Class of 2013.
“During I-Term I learned skills like self direction and how to work without direct supervision, much like in a real work place. I liked how you had freedom over your work and how you did it,” said Nikita Losi, Class of 2017.
“I learned that I might not want to become an environmental engineer like I thought I was going to become,” said Sara Savoia, Class of 2015. “But I also learned that forestry, six sigma in marketing and growth and becoming a ranger are careers that I am interested in.”
“Tech Valley has given me the opportunity each year to pursue an internship in a field of interest to me through I-Term and senior project. It has been a very valuable experience and one I am highly grateful for it.” Seth Miller, Class of 2013.