A ‘Week Without Walls’ opens the world up to students

Some 250 juniors at Phillip & Sala Burton Academic High School completed a week of work-based learning that placed them in professional settings throughout San Francisco — from consulting firms to tech offices and institutions like SF Jazz.

The program, now its second year at the school, consists of two days of professional development workshops, a two-day off-campus placement with San Francisco companies, and a day of reflection during which students share their experiences with their classmates.

Placements are dependent on students’ interests and enrollment in academies —multi-year course sequence with an emphasis on one industry, such as Arts Media Entertainment or Construction Engineering, that aim to accelerate students’ preparedness for college or careers.

A Week Without Walls is spearheaded through a collaboration with Burton and the Bayview YMCA.

“A lot of kids go into whatever academy they choose and realize this is what they want to do for the rest of their lives,” said Burton Principal Sam Bass. “A Week Without Walls helps them really get focused and get some clarity on what they will be doing next.”

On Wednesday, Burton Juniors Eric Iturralde and Jason Adelantar were among a group of five students placed at Dayspring Technologies Inc., a digital consulting company based in the Bayview District.

With the guidance of Dayspring CEO John Green Hill, the students were tasked with shooting a promotional video for an adjacent private school seeking to raise funds to expand its student capacity.

“The two-day event uses skills the students developed in school in video production in a real life work experience — they’ll produce a deliverable they’ll hand over to the client at the end of the two days,” said Green Hill. “When we first did the video project, the students came out with much higher quality than expected — so this year we raised the bar.”

The day started with meetings in which the students interview their clients — two teachers at the school — to get a sense of the project, brainstorming sessions and storyboarding, before putting their ideas into action on video.

“The first two days were to prepare us for the offsite job shadowing — they gave us an overview of what we would do during our job shadow and giving us an idea of what working in the real world looks like,” said Iturralde, who called the work experience “stressful.”

“It’s different — it’s not high school anymore. I realized how much less support is given,” said Iturralde. “I think this is a really beneficial experience because it gives me an idea of what to expect in the industry of making videos and filming, which is something I want to get into.”

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

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