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Hello Summer!

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By Brittany Clark, on May 16, 2014

I am barely five days into my internship and I am hoping that the summer continues to be as exciting as the past week has been. My internship is with the director of the Head Start program at a non-profit called Community Action Opportunities in Asheville, NC. This is them, right here: http://www.communityactionopportunities.org. They operate three federally funded programs, but the bulk of the work is focused on the Head Start classrooms. My initial assignments are to organize the annual internal self-assessment to inform the continuous improvement plan, and to collect data to prepare a response for an RFP we are waiting to be released that will fund early childhood education programs. Let me be clear about one thing: I am not a desk person, and this sounds like desk work. However, I like having the option of multiple projects and these two things fall neatly into my areas of interest, so reading up on them has not been a bore. Also, my supervisor thankfully has made the decision to take me to most of the meetings on his calendar. As a result, I have attended a Head Start management meeting where performance appraisals and contract renewals were discussed, a public information session about converting public housing to section 8 housing in Asheville, and an info session for administrators to understand how the Head Start teachers are taking the initiative to use current technology in their classrooms (e.g. ipads) and the benefits they have seen from it. Each meeting has been unique, and I have found myself sitting there analyzing which org theory frame people are approaching their work from, how public meetings seem to be more of a formality than an opportunity, and how scheduling one meeting where teachers can share their ideas helps them feel valued. I am impressed not so much that my education has suddenly become relevant (really, aspects of every class have been touched on at some point so far), but that my supervisor asks for my opinion on things. What?!? I am pretty sure I only know what I learned in class…and I don’t have all these years of experience to inform my understanding of the theories. So summer, here we go, and if I need a break there are small children to visit less than a block away. One employee has already taken me to the classrooms to show me what to do when I need a reminder of why we do the desk work.
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