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Peekskill High Program Puts Seniors to Work

Several Peekskill High School Seniors gathered in the school’s video recording studio recently to film a video about their PIES program internship with teachers Allison Risoli and Susan Olsen.

“They can do pretty much anything they want,” Risoli said. “It can be a traditional internship - if they want to be a doctor they and can go to a doctor's office - but we also have kids who do independent projects. They design their own projects. One student is managing his band. We've had kids built go carts or do art projects.”

The Peekskill Individualized Experience for Seniors, or PIES as it is called, is a program for second semester seniors that provides academic credit in English and social studies. Risoli, a social studies teacher, is one of the program’s co-coordinators. She said students have a wide berth in choosing their internship. Other internships this year included working with pediatricians, a dog trainer and a swim instructor.

The program require students to attend weekly mentor meetings with teachers attached to the program, complete readings in their area of study, and keep a journal reflecting their activities, attitudes and lessons learned. They also have to interview an adult in their field of interest. Towards the end of the year, each senior gives a 30 minute oral presentation to a committee of parents, teachers and other students.

PIES was started 16 years ago as part of the Wise Consortium online education program. The program attracts between 65-70 students a year. Attracting students isn’t as hard as finding places for them, Risoli said.

“The bigger challenge is finding placements for our students,” Risoli said. “They might want to do something we don’t have in the Peekskill/Cortlandt area so we have to look outside the area. We’re always looking for [placement] sites”

English teacher and program co-chair Susan Olsen said the program can help students who are unsure about their career choices.

“We had one student who was sue he wanted to be an engineer,” Olsen said. “He got an internship at an engineering firm here and at the end of it he said he definitely didn’t want to be an engineer. It helped him make his college decision.”

To learn more about the PIES program or to volunteer as an internship placement site, go to www.phspies.webs.com .

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