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Frequently Asked Questions

General School-to-Work
What are the requirements to participate in Waukee APEX?

The Waukee APEX program differs from other school programs or classes in that GPA and class rank are not a deciding factor. APEX is meant to be a transformational program. Students interested in the program need to:

  • Believe in productive collaboration between education, business and community.
  • Commit to adding value to partnering businesses.
  • Be open to new ideas and possibilities.
  • Be a junior or senior in high school.
  • Desire to work with other students on problem-based, real-world projects.
  • Demonstrate business ethics and dress professionally as determined by the field of study.
  • Spend 2.5 hours a day away from your high school. APEX courses take place in the morning or afternoon during fall or spring terms.
  • Provide own transportation.
How do I enroll?
  • Complete the optional APEX online interest form. This form is not required, but allows us to help guide you to courses that are the best fit for you. There is no application or acceptance process for the program.
  • Visit the “Students” tab to learn more about registering.
  • Speak with your school counselor to determine a plan for participating in the program.
  • Space is limited in courses. If more requests come in than available seats, seniors will be given priority for enrollment. Remaining seats in a course will be selected randomly.
Is this experience only for students who are not sure about their future careers?

Whether you are “sure” of your career or not, APEX is an experience that allows students to explore their passions. After learning technical skills in your field of study, you will be able to choose projects that specifically align with your interests. APEX also helps find job shadowing and internship experiences that correlate with your interests.

Is APEX a trade school or vocational program?

Neither. APEX provides students the opportunity to deeply explore professions of interest through a problem and inquiry-based learning method. Local and global business partners participate with highly skilled instructors to gain authentic exposure and technical skills. Students earn college credit and/or certifications while earning elective high school credit.

Where will APEX courses be held?

Students will engage in both “satellite” and in-district learning. Satellite courses are held at a business in the metro area. In-district courses are held at Waukee Community School District’s Waukee Innovation and Learning Center (WILC) located at 295 SE Ashworth Road, Waukee, IA, 50263.

What is the professional focus for APEX?

Through problem and inquiry-based learning students build skills through authentic experiences in these key areas:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Complex Communication
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Productivity and Accountability
  • Servant Leadership and Customer Service
  • Career Exploration
  • Leadership
  • Entrepreneurialism
  • Ethics
I am involved in a sport or other extracurricular activity. Should I plan to not take an APEX course during season?

APEX has the benefit of flexibility. Students who are involved in an activity have the ability to set their client meeting schedules and can work with their instructor to customize their work time.

I am involved in a lot of activities and/or work after school. What is the work load like in an APEX class?

Generally, your work happens with clients during your individual course time. There may be some work needed after course hours just as any other course, but the workload is typically no more than any other course.

Can I take APEX if I am in band and/or choir?
  • Yes, many of the courses have sections during the afternoon. Course section times are dependent on business partner requests, student enrollment requests and are determined later in the spring following registration. 
  • If you have a conflict in your schedule request, counselors will contact you.
What courses will be offered?

APEX courses are divided into five sectors:

  • Finance, Banking, and Investmentsfor students with a passion for applying mathematical and business models to problems of insurance and finance.
  • Business, Technology, and Communications – for students with a passion for utilizing technology to design products and solve business problems.
  • Engineering – for students with a passion for real-world design projects that shape the environment for future generations.
  • Human Services – for students with a passion for the human services industry, including pathways of health, wellness and education.
  • Bioscience & Value Added Agriculture – for students with a passion for biological knowledge and agricultural production.
I have an interest in fine arts and/or music. Why don’t I see any courses in my career interest area?

Creativity is the foundation of every APEX course. We need creative people, especially in the Designing Communications Solutions and Information Management Design courses. Many of our business partners request artists and musicians because of their availability to see patterns, be creative and develop innovative ideas. If you have a particular passion or desire to work with a particular business, our instructors will work with you to find projects as close to your area of interest as possible.

What if my Waukee APEX experience causes a shift in my career plans?

Then it has been a success! Whether you continue in the field of study or not, the professional skills you have acquired will serve you well and will transcend into any career choice. In many cases, students have found their mentors are great sounding boards and information sources in this situation.

Will the college credits I earn transfer to the college of my choice?

Due to the unique nature of degrees and programs, transfer credits differ across universities and colleges.

I am having a tough time deciding which opportunities are the best fit for me. Can someone help me?

Of course! We have an interest form and someone here to help you make decisions that are the best fit for you.

If I were visiting with someone about Waukee APEX, what conversation points are important to share?
  • Through a collaboration between education, business, and the community, Waukee Aspiring Professional Experience (APEX) develops highly skilled, adaptable, global innovators and leaders.
  • Economic sectors and courses are industry-driven based on economic trends.
  • Dynamic, authentic curriculum is developed through partner expertise.
  • Waukee APEX students add value to their business partners through project work.
  • Businesses can support in a variety of ways such as mentoring, curriculum development, guest speakers/instructors, host site, professional development, equipment and supplies, etc.
  • Waukee APEX will continue with courses hosted in satellite locations.
  • There are no GPA requirement or prerequisite coursework necessary for participation.
  • Waukee APEX is not a vocational or trade school.
  • Courses are currently offered to those attaining junior/senior status.
How does APEX compare to School-to-Work?

Both provide experiences in authentic work settings.

  • Both place emphasis on professional skills and adding value to our business partners.
  • APEX allows for a variety of exploration and experiences within a field based on industry needs selected by the APEX Advisory Board. See our Economic Sector page for the most current course experiences.
  • APEX learners experience coursework with a group of learners along with the support of an instructor. The APEX experience will be listed under education on a résumé since it is a course.
  • School-to-Work (STW) is an individualized experience where a student interns at a single business site. These internship experiences are highly professional and should be considered a job on a résumé.
  • Both APEX and STW offer high school and college credit.
  • APEX courses require 4 blocks (2 blocks for 2 terms).
  • STW requires 5-7 blocks spread throughout all four terms.
  • STW requires an application, teacher recommendation, interview and acceptance process.  Learn more on the STW Blog
  • APEX does not require an application. APEX courses do not have GPA requirements or prerequisites to enroll. Students must commit to professional dress, transportation, being coached and adding value to our business partners.
What are the requirements to be in School-to-Work?

Students interested in taking School-to-Work need to:

  • Attend information session in December
  • Fill out an application at the end of your Junior year
  • Must have three teacher recommendations
  • Interview with Mrs. Heitland or Mr. Carlson
  • Take “Career Development” class through DMACC during Term 1, and pass
Is there a selection process to be in School-to-Work?

Yes. There are limited spots available because the internships are always changing.

Is there a GPA requirement to be in School-to-Work?

No. There is no GPA requirement, but there is a selection process.

Can I just take the "Career Development" Class and not have an internship?

Yes! If you do not want an internship or do not make the selection, you may just take the class Term 1. You will still get DMACC credits for taking just the class.

Will I receive college credits for being in School-to-Work?

Yes. The class is through DMACC, so you will receive college credit. Each term is worth two college credits. If you take School-to-Work through the whole year you will receive eight credits.

What kind of information will I learn in "Career Development"?
  • Assess the job search process
  • Develop a personal inventory
  • Assess the job market
  • Develop a job-seeking promotional package
  • Prepare for the employment interview
  • Work on career goal setting
  • Resume writing
  • Cover letter writing
  • Job application forms
  • Interviewing skills
  • Personal appearance skills
If I get an Internship with School-to-Work, what kind of things will I need to do?

If you are a student and you get to take the Career Development class AND have an internship, here are a few things you will need to do:

  • Interview with the employer for your internship
  • Supply your own form of transportation for to and from your job
  • May need to supply workplace appropriate attire
  • May require completing tests for a specific job
    • If you fail to pass specific job test, you will not get an internship
Will I get paid for my internship?

Some internships are paid, and some are not. Whether you get paid or not will depend on:

  • Your career field
  • Where you work
  • Your experience in that field
Who can I contact if I want to know more about School-to-Work?

There are two School-to-Work teachers, Mrs. Heitland & Mr. Carlson.

School-to-Work blog

Mindi Heitland:
Phone: (515) 987-5163 x2402
mheitland@waukeeschools.org

Scott Carlson:
Phone: 515-987-5163 x2408
scarlson@waukeeschools.org

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