Leadership magazine May/June 2015 V 44 No 5 - Page 36
Tips for connecting learning to career pathways
Continued from page 25
with presenting the final design to industry
We all left the room that day tempered
with anticipation and fear that without a
prescribed structure in place, the students
would struggle organizing themselves to
tackle the numerous dynamics at play. Then
it hit us all – this wasn’t simply an exercise in
building a dream Supercross track – it was
an exercise in leadership, organizational development and problem solving. In addition
to the aforementioned survival skills, we had
taken the eight standards for mathematical
practice and applied them in an innovative
and exciting way.
Pedagogy to outreach: The industry
The southern California region – especially the Inland Empire – is the cornerstone
of the motocross industry. In the late 1970s
and early 1980s, high school motocross
was a mainstay sport in local high schools.
Through the 1990s, the sport continued to
explode and with it, a wealth of industry surrounding the sport began to take root.
In May of 2014, we reached out to industry
executives. The first key contact was Nathan
Ramsey, former supercross champion, and
Jon-Erik Burelson from the KTM Corporation. In that critical meeting, we talked about
the challenges that the motocross industry
is having – namely, that the average age of a
rider in the United States is 36 years old.
This proved to be a major issue for the
motocross field, as market sustainability is
a primary concern with an aging population. Couple this concern with the expense
tied to the sport as well as limited access,
and it was clear that the industry was just as
interested in engaging us as we were them.
We discussed the wealth of opportunities
that existed for students who wished to work
within the industry beyond the aspirational
racing side. Potential careers in marketing,
engineering, communications, mechanics,
sales, orthopedics, first responder, journalism, and photography existed – the pathways were endless.
The conversations continued throughout
the year and culminated in November when
all of the major manufacturers (Yamaha,
Suzuki, KTM, Kawasaki, Honda) and the
Motocross Safety Foundation convened at
Riverside Poly. During that meeting, we discussed specific ways the sport of motocross
could be integrated into the curriculum on a
daily basis, as well as academic pathways that
could benefit students in their preparation.
In November, more than 80 students were
selected to be a part of the Poly Motocross
Project. We also invited 10 students and
two teachers from our feeder middle school.
The room was packed with anticipation as