Reader news: Ridgewater College partners with area high schools for hands-on learning opportunities – West Central Tribune

Wilmar and Hutchinson – Arms-on studying is an effective way to be taught technical expertise. When highschool academics wanted to advance their expertise to make higher use of their newest expertise, they turned to Ridgewater Faculty for assist. College and employees have been completely happy to reply the decision with devoted communications.

“Ridgewater is a neighborhood faculty,” stated Amy Birkland, Ridgewater Admissions and Outreach Specialist. “We’re right here as a useful resource, and we’re all the time seeking to collaborate and make significant connections with highschool college students, academics, and counselors to discover careers, neighborhood outreach, and partnerships.”

It was actually a partnership — a partnership with Steve Homberg, then Director of Outreach for the Minnesota Transportation Middle of Excellence, that set the wheel to serve and help excessive colleges within the space.

When new agriculture instructor Cassidy Withoff attended a small-engine Teaching Workshop final summer season, she had no thought 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 academics and college students to enhance their technical expertise 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 device 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 instructor, Wiethoff expressed concern to Homberg about having technical consultants go to her classroom. Homberg quickly linked Withoff, Birkland, and colleague Judy Parka of the Minnesota Agricultural Middle of Excellence often known as AgCentric. Collectively, they discover methods Ridgewater can help BLHS and advocate for Profession and Technical Schooling (CTE) pathways.


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

About Ridgewater:

Ridgewater Faculty is a neighborhood and technical faculty with campuses within the central Minnesota communities of Willmar and Hutchinson. The faculty serves greater than 5,000 college students by way of almost 100 tutorial applications and greater than 68,000 coaching hours for people and corporations by way of personalized 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 Faculties.

Minnesota is dwelling to 30 neighborhood 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 aim was to do a favor to Cassidy and Gil Grams, who’re native CTE instructors,” Birkeland defined. “That is Cassidy’s first 12 months as a instructor, so our aim was to ensure she felt supported in her new position by letting her know that Ridgewater had the assets to help her classroom. With excessive colleges scuffling with bus bills and an absence of minors, we requested Cassidy, “Can we go outdoors to you!?”

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

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

She had one scholar’s welding expertise that he did not need to go away to go to his subsequent class. One other scholar informed Wiethoff that he had improved a lot that welding was all he wished to do now.

“As an undergraduate instructor of technical trades, I’m all the time humbled to step into the atmosphere of our secondary establishments to soak up what they’ve to show by way of house, gear, and assets,” stated Greg Ryder, Ridgewater Machine Instrument Teacher. “Gifted academics 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 faculty’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 successful 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. Additionally 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 prospects.

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

“The nice a part of today is that as college students discover totally different actions, they’ll 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 academics face making an attempt to soak up a lot content material in 50-60 minute lessons when that point additionally consists of preparation and scrapping. “We now have invited academics to return to Ridgewater so we will proceed to construct this relationship.”

Marshall Coaching Connection

Marshall Excessive Faculty instructor Michael Braithwaite just lately acquired 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 instructor 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 applications with Ridgewater college member John Fritton, Middle.

Contributed/Ridgwater Faculty

“By means 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 the best way to successfully run the coaches together with his college students,” stated Birkeland.

After a couple of 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 supplied help when approaching the concept of ​​coaching each college students and instructors,” Birkeland stated.

“I discovered proper with the scholars,” Braithwaite stated, “however then over lunch the college at Ridgewater confirmed me all the additional actions I might do with the instructors and instructed some instruments our faculty may think about buying to boost the machine studying expertise even additional.”


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

Contributed/Ridgwater Faculty

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

College students experimented with a transmission dynamometer, engine verify 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 instructor, he is excited to make use of the brand new instructors and expertise in his automotive lessons now, but additionally when his highschool opens a brand new Profession and Technical Schooling (CTE) heart subsequent 12 months the place he’ll educate superior automotive and superior welding lessons.

Reader information submission pointers:

Entries for Reader Information could also be despatched to: Every merchandise ought to embody the creator’s identify, mailing tackle, and get in touch with phone quantity, in case there are questions. Photographs have to be excessive decision and captioned and can’t come from Fb. Full names of everybody in photographs requested for posting.

Leave a Comment