STEELE CREEK NEWS
Offers Workplace Experiences for Olympic's Exceptional Students
25 , 2005) On most Tuesdays and Thursdays three or four students
Olympic High School's Exceptional Children Program are at the
U. S. Census Bureau's Charlotte Regional
Office gaining real workplace experience.
Several years ago staff at the Charlotte Census Office, which is
located off Beam Road in the Steele Creek Community, were looking
for an opportunity to become more active in the community. Inquiries
to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools led to the Exceptional Children
Program at Olympic. The school was looking for opportunities to
expose students to a variety of workplace environments.
Jim Williams is co-chair of the Exceptional Children Program and
teaches self-contained cross-categorical classes at Olympic High
School. He says:
Preparation classes have been studying a number of career related
topics this year. We have looked at a number of topics including
career exploration, the job search, application completion, resumes,
interview skills, and job etiquette to name just a few. Most of my
students are following an Occupational Course of Study track and
working toward an OCS diploma. The students must complete all
required coursework, a portfolio, and hundreds of hours of actual
school based/community based/competitive employment. We regularly
take students to various work locations including the U. S. Census
Bureau, TJ MAX, BI-LO, and Parks and Recreation to attain these
hours. The students learn a great deal about real "world of work"
issues and tasks. This helps the students and also provides the
company with valued volunteer labor.
Census Office manages operations for ongoing surveys as well as the
decennial census in a five-state region. Census staff work with
information about survey and census respondents that are
confidential by law. The Olympic program was reviewed by the Census
Security Office to ensure that confidential census information,
including addresses and survey questionnaire responses, would not be
Students perform a variety of tasks essential to census operations,
including opening and sorting incoming mail, assembling packets for
mail outs, counting materials, sorting and storing supplies, and
assembling boxes. If office staff have a meeting, the students also
attend, including one held during a visit by the Census Bureau's
Associate Director for Field Operations.
This is the third year of the program at the Census Bureau. About 20
students total have participated this academic year. Most are
juniors and seniors. They usually come three or four at a time, but
more come for special occasions, such as the end of the year party
last week. Teachers Jim Williams and Kathie Cooper accompany the
Ellen Whitaker, a survey supervisor who works with teachers to
schedule visits and assignments, said "We find the program
rewarding." She enjoys seeing improvement in the students over the
course of the year.
Alvetta Massenberg of the Administration staff is happy for the help
because it frees her up for other tasks. "They always do a good
job," she said.
Wanda Williams, who has had students help her out in her survey,
said "They are always eager to work and do it well. You only have to
show them one time. They are excited about the work and take to the
challenges." She looks forward to their visits.
On Tuesday May 17 Census Bureau staff gave an end of year party for
the students. Every student was recognized for their efforts with
certificates and seniors were given gifts donated by the
staff. Everyone enjoyed the wonderful refreshments and
On Monday May 23rd a group of students from Mr. Williams' and Mrs.
Kyei-Ffordjour's classes were scheduled to take a trip to tour the
Bank of America City Center and Corporate Center and shadow
employees there. They planned to dine at Lunch by the Greens, tour
Founders Hall, and return to school. "These students have grown so
from such experiences this year and my heart felt thanks go out to
the Steele Creek area community for all the generosity you have
shown to the fine students here at Olympic over the years," Williams
For more information on the Exceptional Children Program at Olympic
High School, contact Jim Williams by phone at 980-343-3800 or by
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Olympic High School is
located at 4301 Sandy Porter Road, Charlotte, NC 28273.