I-Term leads to knowledge, careers and life lessons
I-Term is an annual independent project undertaken by all Tech Valley High School students that offers a hands-on opportunity designed to foster direct workplace interaction between students and professionals. I-Term allows students to gain a realistic understanding of an industry or field of study.
Regular coursework pauses and students work closely with a mentor to create a unique, rigorous, and applied learning experience. It gives students the opportunity to make their own learning decisions.
Students collaborate with professionals in their chosen field to design a project that demands critical thinking and the application of diverse deeper learning skills. Underclassmen interview professionals and make short visits to the workplace.
Juniors have longer “extreme exposures” where they contribute to the workplace over several days.
For seniors, I-term culminates in Senior Project, which extends into the academic year and requires the creation of an authentic artifact representing deep learning in the student’s chosen field. Seniors spend 40-50 hours engaged in authentic workplace learning and write an in-depth research paper similar to the work required of undergraduate students.
In addition to students pursuing their individual passions, the school community is encouraged to share their passions with one another. Paedeia (pronounced “pie-day-ah”) is an opportunity during I-term for teachers/staff, parents, former students, community members and friends of TVHS to teach fun, project-based mini courses or workshops around a topic or skill that they are passionate about. Some examples of the courses/workshops are: ancient technology, cooking, music, photography, theoretical physics, American Revolution, disease detective, mosh pit, conspiracy theories, and phyllo fear, etc.
At the conclusion of I-term, Tech Valley High School hosts a
conference showcasing the students' work. Students present their
findings in a variety of media, including TED-style and
PechaKucha talks, poster displays, research papers, and working
models. The final presentations are evaluated by teachers,
student peers, and experts in the field.
“The skills I learned such as how to reach out and network
and contact people on my own help me succeed in the real
said Cullen Utermark, Class of 2014.
"I've always had an interest in medicine, but because of all the confidentiality laws I've never been able to actually get a feel for the field. My experiences at TVHS, especially I-Term, exposed me to not only medical practitioners but also various other people in the medical field," said Rokeya Sultana, Class of 2013.
"During I-Term I learned skills like self direction and how to work without direct supervision, much like in a real work place. I liked how you had freedom over your work and how you did it," said Nikita Losi, Class of 2017.
"I learned that I might not want to become an environmental engineer like I thought I was going to become," said Sara Savoia, Class of 2015. "But I also learned that forestry, six sigma in marketing and growth and becoming a ranger are careers that I am interested in."
"Tech Valley has given me the opportunity each year to pursue an internship in a field of interest to me through I-Term and senior project. It has been a very valuable experience and one I am highly grateful for it," Seth Miller, Class of 2013.
“I-Term is a great experience for these kids to have. I wish all schools required it," said Linda Hill, principal economic developer for National Grid. "Students get to experience the environment, see the equipment, and talk directly to the person doing the job. It is a chance to test perceptions with reality and see if there is anything that peaks their interest and learn what they like, or maybe more importantly what they don't like."