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NLR Chamber, school district seeking businesses to enroll in upcoming Vital Link program

The North Little Rock School District, in partnership with the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, is once again sponsoring the Vital Link Program. The main purpose of the Vital Link Program is to assist students in seeing the connection between classroom learning and success in the workplace.

“We hope you will host sixth grade students in your business for this valuable learning experience,” said Ginger LeQuieu, Quest Facilitator, Ridgeroad Middle School.

The Vital Link Program will be held this year from May 19-22. Each business site is asked to host a minimum of two students.

Ridgeroad Middle School will be sending students on May 19-20. Lakewood Middle School will be sending students on May 21-22.

Anyone wanting to participating is asked to sign up by contacting LeQuieu at lequieug@nlrsd.org, or 771-8159. Anyone having questions should contact LeQuieu at 771-8155.

LeQuieu said this real life experience connects the work place to academics and plays a vital role in career preparations for these students.

The Vital Link program was developed to motivate students to succeed in school by providing opportunities to understand the connection between classroom learning and success in the workplace. Based on previous years’ successes, supporters believe Vital Link is bridging the gap between school and community by helping students answer the question, “Why do I have to learn this?”

The middle school students placed in a business environment are adolescents in a developmental stage characterized by questioning, enthusiasm, confusion, and striving toward independence. They are beginning to understand and participate in the adult world.

“As you plan the work-related activities in which the students will be participating, it is helpful to keep in mind that they will benefit most from activities that are more concrete than abstract. When possible, a hands-on approach will not only create interest, but will also make the learning process more meaningful,” said LeQuieu.

“It has been found that the attention span of students is lengthened when the activities in which they engage are of interest to them,” said LeQuieu said. “A lecture-type presentation should be kept as brief as possible and followed by active student participation.”

Two or more students will be assigned to each job site to work. Students are expected to work with an assigned employee, not just be observers. Students and supervising teachers keep a daily log of their experiences.

In order to model the real-world process of obtaining jobs, students will apply for the Vital Link business opportunities. Not all students who apply will be chosen to participate. The students will complete an application that includes demographic information, an interest inventory, and writing exercises.

From Monday through Thursday during the week of May 19, students leave campus between 8:30-9 a.m., arriving at businesses between 9-9:45 a.m. Students will depart for the return to school between noon and 12:30 p.m.

The supervising teacher will make daily visits to the business site to assist employees in providing learning experiences for the students.

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