A new year is all about beginnings - the beginning of a new semester, the beginning of a new training program, and the beginning of new goals, projects, and opportunities. At IMAGO, we welcome beginnings with all of the potential they bring - especially with new partners! Yup, we’re looking at you, partner! However, beginnings can also be nerve-wracking, full of uncertainty and unfamiliarity. When working with new relationships, we address concerns while helping new facilitators understand our content and platform. This is the groundwork for a healthy partnership, and it includes getting to know each other through the process!

The start of 2019 brought us the beginning of one of our newest partnerships: Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District. Located West of Fresno, Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified has an enrollment of approximately 2,200 students with one primary high school where most of our collaboration will be centered around - Firebaugh High. Before teachers assign lessons in the classroom over the course of this semester, we want to make sure they are well prepared to use our learning platform and content in their classes.

The start of any great partnership with IMAGO begins with our initial training and onboarding process, so on a foggy Monday morning, we headed to Firebaugh for an introductory training session with some awesome teachers and administrators!

Our approach to training is two fold - we want to introduce ourselves and what we believe in, while giving ample time for participants to familiarize themselves with their shiny new platform accounts. This isn’t your typical training: instead of simply telling you what to do, we invite you to experience our lessons, platform, and materials for yourself.

We love storytelling and sharing how we as a company came to be. Our story is a journey, and establishing a partnership with us means you are now a part of that journey as well! We are so thankful for our partners, many of whom have become our close friends over the years. So when we enter into a new classroom, with new teachers, and new opportunities - we know how important it is. The opportunity to partner with amazing teachers and administrators is on the forefront of our mind everytime we step into a training together.

Our time with Firebaugh teachers included walking through a variety of lessons and study guides, showcasing the type of content students will learn. Our “Communication” Mindsets lesson was a big hit, and many teachers even expressed how helpful it was for them to pause and reflect on their own communication styles. We also walked through two Life Skills Lessons: “Handshake” and “Appearance.”

After introducing our content and lessons, it’s time for participants to get some hands-on experience navigating our platform and creating classes. The platform itself might seem a little intimidating between logins, classrooms, our digital toolbox, and sorting through our library with over 200 lessons. However, we provide an individualized Resource Guide to each partner. It includes step-by-step processes for signing into your account, building classes, and even which lessons we suggest for unique classrooms. For Firebaugh specifically, our lessons will be implemented in both 9th grade Health & Career Choices classes, as well as a few 9th-12th grade Career Technical Education classes over the course of this semester.

Overall, we want our educators to feel prepared, confident, and excited to use our content in their classrooms. Our newest partners in Firebaugh expressed how helpful the training was, sharing that it was “insightful” and “straightforward.” David Flood, who teaches Art at Firebaugh High School remarked, “I thought the concept sounded perfect...I like what I see.” We close our trainings by inviting participants to give feedback on our time together, while also expressing what they will take with them into their own worlds. Teachers shared their excitement in utilizing our lessons with students, helping provide a framework to conversations many of them are already having on career choices, professional development, or different life skills.

As our time drew to a close, both our team members and Firebaugh teachers felt excited for this new beginning. We’ll be continuing to work together as this program begins, offering support along the way, both online and onsite. While beginnings are fresh and exciting, we also love continuing to build our partnerships, and see what amazing things our facilitators and learners accomplish along the way!