Independent Learning Program

How do I get an internship?

Step 1. Go to the website! Review the Internship database and get ideas for internships that interest you. Even if you are not sure what your career focus is, this is an opportunity to explore.

Step 2. Complete the Internship & Independent Study Interest Form, following the directions to indicate your preference:

  • Seek an internship from the Internship Opportunities database OR
  • Find your own internship and share contact information with us OR
  • Request assistance with finding an internship that matches your interests.

Step 3. Submit the form as early as possible to assure an early start searching for an internship that is a good match for your interests and skills

Step 4. Use the Internship Toolkit to guide you through the process of outreach, networking, and landing an internship opportunity. As needed, meet with the Independent Learning Coordinator to introduce yourself, learn more about the program and discuss next steps.

Step 5. Complete any research, networking or other action items to search for an internship opportunity. Secure a placement!

Step 6: Take a copy of your resume and your contract with you to your first visit with your supervisor.

Why should I do an internship?

Internships provide a fantastic opportunity to see what a particular career might be like. They also offer the opportunity to learn how to navigate the adult work world. Students who have completed internships in high school have higher self- confidence and feel better prepared to choose a major and make career decisions. Colleges also look favorably upon students who have completed an internship. Be sure to write about your internship experience in college application essays.

What if I don’t see an internship in the Internship database that interests me?

Please complete the interest form and set up a time to meet with the Internship Coordinator. We will work with you to help you identify new opportunities, do research and use your network to search for a good fit opportunity. Keep in mind, the more open you are to new or different opportunities the more exposure and understanding of work life you will have!

When do I need to submit the interest form?

Complete the form as soon as possible, ideally spring to participate in the program the following school year. This will give you more time to find the right placement by the beginning of school in August.

How are the required hours calculated?

Required hours are based on the time allocated to a classroom- based course during Expeditions. You will track your hours on a google sheets timecard each day and it is sent to your internship supervisor for review and signature. Any hours you work at your internship and time you work on course assignments count toward your required hours. You have the flexibility to set up hours that work for your personal schedule and that also work for your internship supervisor. Be advised that your supervisor is your boss and you must be punctual and adhere to the agreed upon schedule.

What if my workplace doesn’t open until 10 or 11 am?

Ask your internship supervisor to work out a schedule with you so that you make sure you are completing the required hours. This might include work assignments that you can do at home in the morning before you go to your internship or working on an evening or weekend for a special event. Each internship is unique, so please ask your internship supervisor to help you work out your schedule. If you need assistance, ask your Independent Learning Coordinator.

Do I have to go to PLT?

You are not required to go to PLT in the mornings as we realize transportations and meeting the hours requirement can be a challenge. We encourage you to go to PLT on days if it works with your schedule. If you fall behind in your core classes, your mentor may require you to adjust your schedule so that you can be at PLT to catch up.

I’m taking public transportation to my internship. Can I count the hours I am in transit?

If you are doing work for your internship while you are on the bus, train or BART, and your supervisor approves this then you can count the hours. Your internship supervisor must sign off on these hours on your time card.

What if I have a job after school?

Meeting the requirements of school during school hours should be your first priority. It is possible to do an internship, attend PLT and work an evening or weekend job – you will need to be organized, efficient with your time, and plan accordingly. Choose an internship and design a schedule that allows you to fit in your school and work obligations. Do not over commit yourself!

Can I get paid?

You cannot get paid for the required hours for your internship. Your hosting organization is allowed to pay you for any hours outside what is required for the internship course or offer you a job after your internship is complete.

How do I have to dress?

How you need to dress depends upon where you intern. For many internships, you will be expected to dress more professionally. In the work world this is called “business casual”. For young men - wear khakis or dress slacks and a polo shirt or a collared shirt. A tie or a jacket adds a more professional touch. For young women, wear a nice blouse or simple knit top and wear dress slacks, a nice skirt or a professional looking dress. A scarf or jacket always adds a more professional touch. We recommend that you ask your Internship Supervisor what they recommend interns wears at their organization.

If I don’t like my internship, can I switch to another one?

The internship program is designed to be a full school year commitment. If the internship is different from what you expected, that is very common! If you are not happy, please come talk with the Internship Coordinator and we will support and coach you and your supervisor to make the experience a good one for you and for the organization. Communication with your supervisor is key. Rarely, students are able to switch from one internship to another; therefore it is vital that you do the research and planning required to ensure a good fit from the start.

If I don’t like my internship, can I switch to another course?

See the response above. Most courses are enrolled to capacity, making it very difficult to switch to a different course once the enrollment process is completed. You sign a contract committing to the work of your internship and we expect you to keep your commitment and to focus on strategies to make your internship a good experience that will help prepare you for the adult work world. Remember most experiences depend on what type of effort you put in. Often students are able to gain more responsibility and change the course of their internship through strong performance, perseverance, and self-advocacy.

If I haven’t completed my VPA course may I do an Internship or Independent Study?

If you are a senior than no. Students MUST take a one year Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) course before graduation! Students and families are responsible for ensuring this happens. Students are encouraged to meet this requirement their 9th or 10th grade year.

Will I have someone giving me directions on my work?

Students must exhibit the ability and willingness to work independently and successfully complete agreed to educational requirements with limited supervision by a teacher. In Independent Study, students receive feedback on their projects and coursework but minimal direction on how to go about day to day coursework. The spirit and goal of the program is to allow students to drive their own learning and develop their own structured course.

How is the course graded?

Independent Learning courses are graded pass or fail and do appear on the transcript.

Can I do two different semester-long Independent Learning courses?

An internship is for the entire school year. An Independent Study proposal must also be for the entire school year. If you would like to separate the work into two distinct chunks, one option is to create two final project deliverables for each semester that tie into the larger year-long course.

Can any student do an internship or independent study?

Any student other than Juniors are eligible for the program. Juniors must take College Readiness and therefore are unable to take the Independent Learning full-day course. Students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) must have provisions in their plan - an addendum - allowing for them to participate in Independent Study.