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School-based Experiential Learning Liaisons

The School-Based Experiential Learning Liaison is an on-site contact for students to support increased student achievement. The School-Based Experiential Learning Liaison will be the connection between students and the District Experiential Learning Coordinator.


  • East High School - Rene Avila
  • La Follette High School - Amy Schwab
  • James Madison Memorial High School - Troy Arneson
  • West High School - Sarah Quinn
  • Capital High - Jovan Recidivic
  • Shabazz City High - Elizabeth Long

Experiential Learning Resources

Check out these resources:

Get Involved!

If you are interested in hosting a student, from job shadowing to youth apprenticeships, contact our Experiential Learning Coordinator at (608) 663-5203.

Experiential Learning Continuum

Experiential learning is most effective when young people experience a continuum of opportunities throughout their elementary school, middle school, high school and postsecondary years that focus on awareness, exploration, preparation and training. 

Spanning the continuum of high quality experiential learning experiences is a range of activities, both in and outside the classroom, which enable students to connect academic and technical content to its ‘real world’ application, and to build 21st century college, career and community readiness skills and competencies. 


Work/Volunteer Credit

Students entering grades 9-12 are eligible to earn up to 5 elective credits for approved work-based learning  or volunteer experiences. In order to earn elective credit, students must obtain an approved work or volunteer position and complete a work-based learning or youth apprenticeship course in Google Classroom, organized by the school’s designated Experiential Learning Liaison. 

Every 45 hours equates to .25 elective credits (credit earned will be added direct to student transcript upon successful completion of experience). At least 90 hours  and an employer evaluation must be documented and verified to earn the youth leadership or employability skills certificate.

During COVID, MMSD is doubling the credits per hour (child or home care remains .5 credit per semester).  Here is a chart showing credit options during COVID:

Up to 23 hours: .25 credit

23-45 hours: .50 credit

46-68 hours: 75 credit

69-90 hours:  1 credit

If you would like to earn credit for your work or volunteer position, follow these steps: 

  • Obtain an approved work or volunteer position.
  • Connect with your school counselor AND school-based experiential learning liaison to complete required paperwork and enroll in the related course.
  • Track your work hours and complete coursework.

Job Shadow/Internships

A job shadow is a learning experience that takes place at a community organization or workplace. A job shadow provides students with opportunities to gather information on a wide variety of career possibilities before deciding where they want to focus their attention. Students learn from professionals about the skills and competencies necessary to be college, career, and community ready. Students will spend between one hour to one full day following an employee, observing what the employee does, and asking about his or her work and the workplace. This is not a credit bearing experience. 

During the job shadow experience, students will:

  • See the connection between what they learn in the classroom and what they will need to achieve their goals;
  • Learn that they have choices in life; observe what people actually do when they are on the job;
  • Learn what the "real work world" expects of them—the worker;
  • Learn what education and training they will need after graduating from high school to be hired for the job; and
  • Hear what compensation and benefits they can expect when they are employed.

If you are interested in a job shadow experience, reach out to a company or professional to set up a shadowing experience. Your teachers or school counselor can help you create a plan for reaching out to a business. 

Job Shadowing Tips for Teens and Students

School Makes a Difference (SMAD)

What is the School Makes a Difference (SMAD) Program?

This program is a valuable and meaningful part of cohesive and comprehensive career development for middle school and high school students. Sponsorship of this program is shared by the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and the Career and Technical Education Department of MMSD.  

SMAD is an opportunity for students to hear adults talk about their career journey and engage in a brief dialogue with presenters with the continued goal of having speakers represent a variety of jobs, careers, educational levels, non–traditional occupations, and race/ethnic groups. 

See one volunteer's journey

Do you have a story to share? Contact Tara Wolfe, tpyles@madison.k12.wi.us.

Youth Apprenticeship

Youth Apprenticeship, or YA, is a rigorous one- or two-year elective program for juniors and seniors, that combines academic and technical classroom instruction with mentored, on-the-job training to provide students with industry-established occupational and employability skills. Post-secondary and business partnerships are essential for a successful youth apprenticeship program. 

Currently, YA programs are offered in the following areas (click on an individual area to find additional information):

In the news

Madison students get hands-on experience working on city vehicles - March 5, 2018

Checklist to Completing Youth Apprenticeship

STEP 1: Student Application

Students can apply online here to become a youth apprentice anytime during their sophomore year through the end of the 1st semester of their senior year. Interested students can also contact their School-Based Experiential Learning Liaison for more information.

STEP 2: Intake Interview

Once the student completes their application, they will need to meet with the school's Experiential Learning Liaison for an in-person interview.

STEP 3: Get Ready

Student will work with the school liaison to prepare a resume, submit a parent/guardian certification, and review or enroll in related coursework. Students will then work toward gaining employment within their chosen YA career cluster.

STEP 4: Employed

Once a student is employed, they will need to:

  • Schedule an ETA meeting within 30 days of employment
  • Meet with their school-based experiential learning liaison to join the YA google classroom
  • Work with the liaison to schedule quarterly in-person performance evaluations

STEP 5: YA Program Completion

  • Student will complete all required Google classroom check-ins, time tracking, in-person meetings and final reflection
  • Student will complete a total of 450 hours per year
  • Submit a final industry checklist and post survey

Resources for Students

Youth Apprenticeship Student Handbook

Resume and Interview Preparation
Resume Template (Google Doc)

Resources for Employers

Resources for Educators