Salina For the last nine years, Leah Hollen has been a special-education teacher at Salina Central High School.
But for two weeks this summer she's working as an intern at Dillons supermarket.
The program is part of the district's School to Career Partnership, which is funded by a $180,000 federal grant.
Other districts across the state and around the country have School to Career programs that offer students summer internships. But the Salina School District's Teachers in the Workplace program trains educators in jobs outside the classroom.
Teachers, in turn, bring that information back to the classroom to help students understand why what they're learning will matter later on.
In previous years, Hollen has worked at Green Lantern convenience stores, the Saline County Sheriff's Office and Salina Regional Health Center. She chooses to work in places geared toward customer service.
"Working with people is a skill and an art," Hollen said.
She plans to share that art form with her students in the fall by telling them about her experiences.
Central High English teacher Pat Benignus, who is working at the Smoky Hill Museum this summer, said the program gives teachers a sense of what's new in the work world and what skills are needed to succeed.
Whether it's math, English or science, the goal is to show students how to apply skills in the "real world," said Roanne Stein, Central High's School to Career coordinator.
"This is not about training (students) for a specific job; this is giving them the flavor of a career pathway," said Barbara Jo Coleman, the School to Career coordinator for Salina South High School.
Sonja Auldridge, a South High School business teacher, who is working at a fabric store, plans to use her experience to show students how accounting, computer operations, marketing, retailing and customer service training in the classroom can be applied in the real world. She'll teach students to work with fractions and decimals by measuring, cutting and marking fabrics, rope and other products.