Over eight years ago I had the opportunity to begin conducting mock interviews at the Beaver County Career & Technology Center to help students prepare for the real world. I was introduced to this opportunity by my friend, Renee Digiacomo, who teaches Business Information Systems and she asked me to help. She had the idea of preparing students for the real world by using business leaders she knew to help with the interview process. There are three of us who have been doing the interviews over the years: myself, Director of Business Administration here at Questeq; Deb Gray, owner of Express Professionals; and April McShane, Territory Manager of the Bradford Institute.
Photo courtesy of Beaver County Career & Technology Center
The process of the mock interview goes as follows: the students are first prepped weeks ahead of time with a mock job opening and job description that they must use to prepare for the interview. Next, they work on their resumes, letters of intention, and study the criteria that they will be judged upon during the interview process. While students prepare for their interview, we create score sheets that vary in criteria from proper business attire, resume portfolio, and ability to answer and ask questions. Each student is brought into the classroom where our panel conducts interviews. Once the interviews are completed and scored, we bring the students back in and discuss with them mistakes and give advice on how they can do better. The student with the highest score is awarded the job.
There are so many things the students gain from this; courage and confidence are two that really stand out to me. I remember one incident where our influence on a student was extremely powerful: I was out to dinner and our waitress said that she did a mock interview with me and it helped her get the job that she wanted. She thanked me for all the help we gave her, and it was one of the reasons she beat out the competition. That was a great feeling to hear that she took to heart what she had learned and how the class helped her for the real world. We sometimes see repeat students since they may be sophomores or juniors in previous interviews. It’s fun when they return, and we see the improvements they made from last year.
Through the years I have learned the value of the entire interview process. There is so much competition in today’s job market and it’s extremely important to differentiate yourself and show the employer that you are the person for the job they are offering. Also, it is so important to research the company you want to work for because in the end, the employer wants people committed and enthusiastic to work for their company!
Finally, I would like to add that as a panel of interviewers we are not moderate just because they are students. We are tough in our criticisms and we do that to get the students to think about the reality of their future career path. It is a great teaching tool and I am honored to be a part of it every year!
Jessica Main and BCCTC students
In February, Questeq’s Jessica Main and The Challenge Program distributed financial awards to underclassmen at the Beaver County Career and Technology Center. Questeq was a partner of The Challenge Program at BCCTC during the 2016-17 school year.
To read the full press release, click here.
We previously shared our involvement with The Challenge Program and BCCTC.
Questeq partner school, Hopewell Area School District has been selected to host edcampPGH. This free, unconference event will be held on Saturday, March 24, 2018 from 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Teachers and other educational stakeholders are welcome to attend this unique professional development opportunity, centered around collaborating, sharing and learning from your peers. In this collaborative environment, presentations are not pre-scheduled but are determined on the day of the event. All attendees have the opportunity to present and share their expertise with interested participants.
For eligible attendees, DPW Credits and Act 48 Credits will be offered in partnership with WQED Education and Trying Together.
Questeq is pleased to be able to sponsor breakfast and lunch at the event. Congratulations to the dedicated teachers, staff and administration for bringing this exciting event to Beaver County, Pennsylvania.
For more information and to register, visit the edcampPGH website or registration page.
Wilmington Area School District has transformed into a regional leader in Educational Technology and is a pinnacle example of how Questeq can transform K-12 schools from tactical to strategic.
Just over two years ago, Wilmington partnered with Questeq with the hope of revitalizing their technology and every aspect of it. The District had major issues at every level. As Wilmington’s new Technology Manager, I believe that if “school choice” is going to be a thing, then Wilmington will be the best choice. Over the past two years, Aaron McConahy, Infrastructure Engineer, and myself have worked hard to make that happen.
The District is now 1:1 K-12 with a solid infrastructure. Everything has changed for the better, and it all started with a change of culture. We’ve turned the Tech Department into a Department of “Yes!” where we do everything possible to meet the needs of our faculty and staff. No matter how small or insignificant the request might seem to us, it may mean the world to a teacher. So, we exhaust every effort to say “yes” instead of defaulting to “no.” When the default response of technology staff is “no,” faith in the Tech Department will diminish so far that most teachers won’t bother to ask for help. With a positive change in culture, the whole district has regained trust in their Tech Department, and teachers are eager to learn and try new technologies.
Recently, Wilmington has fully immersed itself in everything Google. We are 1:1 with Chromebooks 5-12, and are using G Suite for Education extensively. The usage of Google Classroom, for example, is a requirement of all middle and high school teachers. Several teachers are now Google Certified Educators, and many more have expressed interest. Wilmington’s usage of Google products and services has spiked so high that even Google took notice. In July, we were selected as a Google Reference District.
Google Reference Districts are distinguished schools that utilize everything Google and are intended to show other districts what Google can do for education. Becoming a Google Reference District can only start with an invitation and involves a detailed application process. There are less than 200 districts in the world with this distinction. Needless to say, everyone at WASD is very proud!
Questeq’s impact at Wilmington has been positively remarkable. In just two years, Wilmington has changed its entire culture and is now a leader among leaders. We’ve shown that enrollment numbers don’t matter. Any district can accomplish the same feats regardless of size. All it takes is a Technology Department with motivation, perseverance, and a heap of gumption.
– Matthew E. Maine, Technology Manager
It’s no secret that the innovative juggernaut, Google, has found its way into many educational institutions worldwide. Their website boasts that 70 million users and seven of eight Ivy League schools utilize their education suite of tools. This suite, called G Suite for Education (formerly known as Google for Education), uses a philosophy perfectly fit for today’s schools: To provide simple, innovative, and cost effective solutions tailored for the education workspace.
In 2015, the Cornell School District partnered with Google to help deliver a fresh learning experience. While at first reluctant to change, teachers have embraced the switch and are pleased with the results. Every year, more of our educators get on board and set up their own ‘cloud’ classrooms where students can access lessons anywhere, any time, and from any device. Adding Google Chromebooks has enhanced classrooms and continues to be a driving force in personalized learning. But to make it all work effectively, the students can’t be the only ones learning.
Professional development is a must in any occupation, especially dealing with technology. As a technology administrator at the Cornell School District, I’m always looking for ways to do my job more effectively. Because of my limited knowledge of G Suite for Education, I decided to take a relevant online course created by Google. This course is called “G Suite Administrator Fundamentals” and is specifically designed for administrators who manage G Suite for their organization. Completion of the course takes 15-30hrs and is provided online through Coursera. In summary, the course teaches organizational best practices as well as how to manage users, control access to apps, configure security settings and much more.
I completed the course in July and passed the end of course exam to become a Google Certified Associate – G Suite Administrator. The biggest benefit for me was learning what is possible through the suite. For example, there are advanced email options to authenticate organizational email, which can be used to prevent email spoofing. This feature will more than likely be implemented at Cornell since the school has been the target of multiple email spoofing campaigns. I definitely recommend taking this course and exam for any administrators using G Suite for Education. My gained knowledge will be a small contribution to helping the Cornell School District in their on-going mission of pursuing excellence in public education.
– Cody Thull, Questeq Technology Coordinator @ Cornell School District