Southwest Iowa Technical Career Hub (SWITCH) Launches Pilot Program for Its First Student

The initial programming at Southwest Iowa Technical Career Hub (SWITCH) is underway with
an Authentic Learning Services pilot program through a partnership with East Mills Community
School District, Green Hills Area Education Agency (AEA), Iowa Authentic Learning Network
and SWITCH’s first student. Jack Sayers is participating in the Iowa Legislative Page program at
the Iowa capitol where he is serving as a page for the House of Representatives Majority
Leader Matt Windschitl. Jack started working with SWITCH in December 2022 to prepare for the
spring 2023 semester and 90th General Assembly.
SWITCH Director and Career Coach, Kattie Lewis says, “We are pleased to launch the first pilot
program at SWITCH and we are thrilled to work and support Jack with his education while he is
engaged in the legislative session this semester. Jack was instrumental in supporting the 2021
East Mills K-12 bond issue that started conversations to create a regional career and technical
education (CTE) center now known as SWITCH.” Lewis will serve as Sayer’s career coach and
liaison while he is working at the Iowa capitol during the current legislative session.
Jack Sayers, the son of Lindsey Sayers and Shane Sayers, and a junior at East Mills,
contributes: “The professional relationship that has been established between myself as a page
in the Iowa House of Representatives, SWITCH and the East Mills Community School District is
beneficial to our three parties and more importantly, we believe that all Southwest Iowans can
gain from our work. When I first heard of the idea for this program I knew that I wanted to make
it happen. While working on the East Mills Community School District’s $22 million bond in
2021, I learned the benefits SWITCH will bring to our communities. If we truly want to fix our
labor shortage and revitalize our small towns, we as Iowans must invest in vocational education.
I am honored to be the first student of SWITCH which is intended to do just that. I am also
looking forward to building a relationship between the program and the Iowa Legislature to grow
the vision that community leaders have established. Kattie, myself, Mr. Scott, Ms. Miller, and Mr.
Heinold are working together to create competency based learning in the East Mills Community
School District, which will prove to be an asset towards students in our area who will benefit
from a vocational style education. I truly believe that we have begun to lead a program that will
benefit the economy, education, and workforce of our region while showing state government
officials why Southwest Iowa matters and what we are truly capable of.”
Stephanie Lane, Green Hills AEA, shares, “Authentic Learning creates opportunities for
students to make connections between current coursework while exploring careers that interest
them. This type of learning results in students receiving hands-on projects producing deliverables
for businesses. The objective is for students to apply what they have learned through these
experiences while creating a deeper connection to their community. Additionally, communities
and businesses have a unique opportunity to preview and help shape their future workforce.”
Kari Miller, East Mills Social Studies and Government teacher expresses, “My greatest
excitement as Jack's government teacher will be his ability to share his experiences with East
Mills students. It is easy for me to describe the government and explain how it works but to have
Jack give his insight into the inner workings of the legislature is a once-in-a-career opportunity.
This semester, Jack will be creating presentations for the US Government students detailing his
experiences. This authentic learning opportunity is one that cannot be replicated in the
classroom so I will continue working with Jack, Mr. Scott, and Kattie Lewis, SWITCH
Director/Career Coach, on how to best mesh East Mills' educational requirements with this
real-world adventure to assist Jack in his current and future endeavors.”
Chase Heinold, East Mills English teacher states, “I am very excited to have Jack Sayers
participating and representing the East Mills school district in the Iowa Legislature Page
Program. This program provides young people the opportunity to not only see the day-to-day
workings of what goes on with our state legislature but also allows them to be a part of it in a
real meaningful way. With this experience comes a responsibility to share with their classmates
and community the issues most discussed, and also bring to light issues that still warrant more
attention for the betterment of our community and our state. None of this could be possible
without the partnership between East Mills and SWITCH, ensuring that our students serving in
the Iowa Legislature Page Program still satisfy their academic requirements through the East
Mills school district. A lot of thought and hard work went into assuring our students are able to
use everything at their disposal within their experience in the Iowa Legislature Page Program to
correlate with and meet our standards and learning objectives.

The Red Oak Express

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P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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