Administrator’s Corner: Working with experiential learning

Published 6:00 pm Friday, December 6, 2019

Administrator’s Corner by John Double

John Double


Through my position with Albert Lea Area Schools, there is an opportunity to collaborate with many individuals, businesses, organizations, post-secondary institutions and regional partners. The focus of these collaborations is to enhance student learning in our Albert Lea Area Schools through experiential and work-based learning while preparing students to be college and career ready. We are a leader in southeast Minnesota in these experiential areas being available to all students, thanks to the collaborations our staff and community members helped build over time.

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“Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience and then reflecting on the experience of doing. Experiential learning can include a work-based learning internship position, job shadowing a professional in a career pathway of interest, hearing a guest presenter describe his/her career pathway journey, attending a career fair, completing a service learning project, visiting a college campus — and many more experiences,”  according to the Minnesota Department of Education, 12/19.

Through community collaborations makings opportunities like these realities for our students, our school district programming offers many of these components as part of our experiential and work-based learning experiences. Below are some examples of the different opportunities we offer:

• Expert presenters: Jean Eaton, Albert Lea Greater Education Project, collaboratively organizes guest speakers for our Pathways class at Albert Lea High School.  Southwest Middle School hosts the Tiger Career Expo annually with over 30 presenters for students to explore career options.

• Tours and field trips: Our high school and Area Learning Center participated in Manufacturing Week tours (Southeast Service Cooperative STEM Forward initiative — Albert Lea business participants included ALAMCO Wood Products, Lou Rich Inc. and Zumbro River Brand). Both schools also had students attend the College Fair and Career Days at Riverland Community College as well as the Mayo Clinic Health System job fairs.

  Job shadowing: Students in our high school economics class have a job shadowing experience as part of the class.  Jean Eaton collaboratively organizes these experiences for our students.

• Work experience: Albert Lea Area Schools offer these experiences through classes such as diversified occupations, work-based learning, and our transition programming.

• Youth apprenticeships: Albert Lea currently has pre-approved areas including manufacturing, mechanics (auto and diesel), and construction (including plumbing, HVAC, electrical).

  Career-specific experiences: Students attending Albert Lea schools also have the opportunity to take career-specific courses such as certified nursing assistant , teacher cadets and firefighter courses.

Albert Lea Area Schools offer many different experiential and work-based learning opportunities for our students. It is through the collaborations with our community that we can offer these experiences to our students. If you would like to become part of any of these student experiences, please contact me at 379-5363 or

John Double is an administrator on special assignment with Albert Lea Area Schools.