Kyla and Kayla, juniors at Perspectives Charter School, recently participated in a six-week internship at the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) to gain more experience in a work environment. This is one of many internships that Perspectives offers to juniors who attend the school. We asked Kyla and Kayla a few questions about Perspectives and their internship experiences, and here’s what they had to say.
How have you benefited from attending Perspectives Charter School?
Kyla: Perspectives Charter School has taught me how to be a critical thinker and how to work on my communication skills. Even though I have only been attending Perspectives for a few months, I have become more outspoken and an advocate for myself and others. Perspectives is preparing me for college, and all the programs that are offered will help me in the future.
Kayla: Perspectives benefits me on many levels; the school provides many opportunities that will lead to my success. Many programs at Perspectives develop me as a leader. For example, I’m currently in National Honors Society, and it’s our role to represent the entire student body and push ourselves and our peers to do better. In the future, I plan to attend college and eventually become a psychologist.
How did the internship at INCS benefit you?
Kyla: My internship at INCS has helped me gain office experience. Before coming to INCS, I wasn’t really good at communicating with others in a professional manner. During this internship, I learned how to send a proper email when making requests (such as to meet with a staff member to learn about their job and career path) or even for help in general. I also learned how to communicate effectively about challenges. When I came across a problem and I brought it to the attention of my mentors, we decided together the best way to resolve the issue.
Kayla: During my internship at INCS, I learned a lot of information about the charter school sector and how some of the beliefs the public has about charter schools are myths. For example, charter schools are public schools and a part of the Chicago Public Schools district.
What is A Disciplined Life (ADL)? What ADL principles did you demonstrate during the internship?
Kayla: At our school, we have a program called A Disciplined Life, which is comprised of 26 principles that guide student behavior and performance, and help us develop self-perception, healthy relationships, and productivity. The first ADL principle I demonstrated during my internship was “Listen Actively” because, in business, listening is key to developing effective work relationships with my coworkers. Listening to feedback helped me improve a project by zeroing in on what types of organizations to research and add to a community profile spreadsheet. I also used my active listening skills when I interviewed three different INCS staff members. By constantly asking questions and showing my engagement in our conversations, the staff members I interviewed gave me advice on choosing colleges and career choices. The second principle I used was “Communicating Effectively.” Sometimes my mentors gave me tasks that I didn’t fully understand, so I took the time to ask questions and talk with them until they understood what I was having an issue with and could clarify.
Kyla: During my internship at INCS, I demonstrated a few of the ADL principles that Perspectives is based upon, including “Be Punctual and Prepared,” “Seek Wisdom,” “Think Critically and Inquisitively,” “Communicate Effectively,” “Solve Conflicts Peacefully,” and “Demonstrate a Strong Work Ethic.” First, I demonstrated punctuality by arriving very early on each internship day, thereby showing my interest in the internship and my reliability. When I was struggling with a problem outside of the internship, I sought wisdom from my mentor and in doing so I solved my conflict peacefully. While dealing with my own personal problems, I tried my best to remain patient and put my best foot forward to do my best work, embodying the principle of solving conflicts peacefully and also demonstrating a strong work ethic.
What have you learned about charter schools in your internship at INCS?
Kayla: Even though I attend a charter school, I really didn’t know much about charters before my internship. I had heard they were privately funded and were considered to be “private” schools. In fact, all charters are public schools that receive public funding from their districts. Some raise additional private funds to support their programs, such as the College For Certain model at Perspectives. Interning at INCS, I realized there is so much that people don’t know and so much more for me to learn about charter schools.
Thanks to Kyla and Kayla for sharing their time, energy, and enthusiasm with us at INCS! Their insatiable curiosity and openness to learning was an inspiration to us all.