Teachers get Public Health immersion to help student career choices

Two high school teachers spent an intense eight days with Public Health’s Environmental Health Services division (EH) – and set the stage for teaching students about career opportunities in Public Health.

Each teacher shadowed eight different staff in EH. They learned about food and facilities, solid waste and hazardous waste materials, how information technology serves the mission, and more.

The teachers are part of a Teacher Externship Program sponsored by the Washington Alliance for Better Schools which is affiliated with 11 school districts. The program trained 22 local teachers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) this summer. The goal is to improve the teaching of STEM by making the subjects more relevant to students, showing them real-world applications.

Greg Wilson, EH Program Manager, facilitated the experience for Genevieve Menino (Lake Washington School District) and Al Waltner (Kent School District) who saw how STEM knowledge is valuable in daily public health work, and how equity and social justice principles are infused within the work.

Each teacher has designed a STEM lesson plan based on what they observed to teach during this academic year, and they’ll share the curriculum with other teachers. In the process, they’ll educate students about a variety of different jobs in the department.

“Embracing this program was another reflection of the EH commitment to STEM education and to the Equity and Social Justice ordinance,” EH Director Ngozi Oleru said. “Our many thanks and kudos to everyone involved with another academic success story.”

Public Health High School teachers

By Greg Wilson, Program Manager III, Public Health – Seattle & King County.