Eighth Graders Climb Higher with The First Rung2023-06-19T06:09:22+00:00

Eighth Graders Can Climb Higher …
…….        with our
First Rung program

SUCCESS IN COLLEGE, TECHNICAL SCHOOL, the MILITARY or WORK all depend on success in high school. Success in high school depends on achievements in middle school. Thus, middle school serves as the ‘first rung of the ladder’ students will need to ‘climb’ to achieve success, however they may choose to define what success means to them.

The ‘nature of teaching’ is tangibly different in middle school when compared to earlier years, so that is where our program starts. Eighth graders should — and often need help — to secure their academic and social foundations before they advance into high school. Each student needs to start ‘climbing the virtual ladder’ they will use to mark their own progress. That’s why we start our program in eighth grade with short lessons that connect what they are doing in school directly to success in the world beyond school.

In fact, the additional four years of lessons and activities we offer students after grade 8 that span grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 can be absolutely critical in helping an individual reach his or her goals in work and life. Our focus on academics/workforce readiness starts with targeted proprietary curriculum tailored to the older middle school student. We believe that if students really understand how learning something improves their job prospects, they will work harder. For example, few students know that 94% of workers need to use various levels of mathematics in their jobs.

We also offer a variety of optional exercises that are fun, challenging, and provide a peek into the world of work and how to prepare for that experience. 

Participants learn that eighth graders need to leave middle school with their feet firmly planted on the first rung of their futures. No matter how high the climb, it always starts with the first rung. That means students will need to leave grade eight with the knowledge and skills needed to move directly into far more challenging high school courses.

Remember that there are many reasons why eighth grade performance is so critical and is absolutely fundamental:

  • A majority of schools use a student’s performance in eighth grade (usually mixed with scores on standardized tests) to determine which high school courses soon-to-be ninth graders will have on their daily class schedules. What those high school courses are, and how well ninth graders perform in them, can make or break a young teen’s future.

That’s why The Internship Depot starts its ‘messaging’ in grade eight, emphasizing to students that research confirms the standard assumptions that hard work in hard courses is the best way to prepare for success in post-secondary education and work. We also discuss the need for students to learn appropriate soft skills.

We have developed a customized curriculum and a full set of activities for middle and high school students that help them understand how important academic achievement and personal development is for their future success, no matter their future goals. Our First Rung curriculum:

  • informs and reinforces what eighth graders need to learn academically and socially, and
  • provides an opportunity for eight graders to practice and apply what they have learned.

Most importantly, The First Rung presentations show students how they can not only build their academic portfolio with hard work, they can ‘convert’ their hard work into language that will impress college admissions officials and business people alike.

To add an element of immediacy and direct reward, The First Rung emphasizes what students need to do to every year in middle and high school so they launch and sustain a multi-year effort that will allow them to build their documented success over a number of years.

As students in eighth grade graduate and move up to high schools that are participating in The Internship Depot programs, they will be invited to join the Stormy Wannabees Advantage Initiative, which takes high school freshmen and sophomores take a turn for the ‘real’ with more intense curriculum and various demanding but fun and exciting simulation games and a wide variety of activities. These various ventures will help participating students understand the competitive nature of both the college admissions and the employment processes.

Then, as students move into their two last years in high school and become juniors and seniors, they can become Rainmakers Candidates, and learn what they need to know to solicit, secure, and successfully serve a Rainmakers Internship.

Even then, no matter how high the climb, it always starts with The First Rung.

The First Rung program also includes a set of fun, dynamic, and informative (also life-changing!) activities detailed in the bulleted list at the bottom of this page.

Check out the specifics of The First Rung curriculum and activities in the two bulleted lists at the bottom of this page. FIRUNG

Don’t Miss This Additional Information:

Learn More About How We Help Eighth Graders Choose the Right Course.

See How The First Rung Fits in Our Sequence of Programs Across Grade Levels.

Links to Other Components of The Internship Depot’s program:

Learn More About The Stormy Wannabees Advantage Initiative.

Learn More About Rainmakers Internships.

Find Out What High School Interns Can Do for an Employer.

Click on Each of the Black Boxes Below for More Details:

Brain Science Rules2020-04-04T20:12:16+00:00

Demanding Course Work Builds Brains

The agonies of math? The challenges of a new language? Even harder challenges of a new language that uses a different alphabet? The focus on details demanded by computer programming?

The research is unequivocal. The more you study, learn, and practice hard academic material, the more you get smarter.

Yes, you do!


Propel Yourself into Your Future2020-04-01T06:17:36+00:00

Dual Duty

Most importantly, The First Rung presentations show students how they can not only build their academic portfolio with hard work in challenging academic subjects, they can ‘convert’ their hard work into language that will impress college admissions officials and businesses alike.

Yes, that’s right. Even eighth grade students will be able to not only impress their teachers, but they will learn how to compile, evaluate, and present their performance in middle school in a way that will impress college admissions officials and employers alike!

Talk about communications!

To ensure that students have learned and understood the content in this module, there is an online debriefing exercise for each.

Mysteries of Histories2020-04-01T06:18:22+00:00

An Energetic View of History

The last of our five classroom learning modules targets History class and presents a completely different take on the progress human beings have made since the end of the Ice Age.

The module also emphasizes how the rate of change in technological advances has increased and how that rate of change will impact students’ futures.

To ensure that students have learned and understood the content in this module, there is an online debriefing exercise for each.


Multiple Languages = $$2020-04-08T15:34:10+00:00

So Many Languages

We offer two electronic Classroom Learning Modules in which we detail the importance of language. These presentations help students understand why learning English is key, how learning specific foreign languages can help them snag great jobs that pay more money but not all languages are created equal.

We define the impact that appropriate and skilled use of language (both the spoken and written word) makes on decision-making individuals, such as employers and college officials. Adding appropriate body language can morph an interview into a job offer.

Adding a computer language to one’s repertoire makes a job candidate almost unbeatable.

To ensure that students have learned and understood the content in this module, there is an online debriefing exercise for each.

Exercise Your Mind2020-04-01T06:59:33+00:00

Take a Bath in Hard Math

We have two electronic Classroom Learning Modules targeting Mathematics Class that showcase widely accepted research and emphasize that hard work in hard courses (especially in Mathematics) is the best way to build the mind for the next level of learning.

That counts for all future options, whether a student’s goal is to attend a two-year college, a four-year college, an industry training program, join the military, or go directly to work.

The mind is like a muscle. If you don’t exercise it, a lot of the strength you could have you won’t have.

These electronic presentations clearly connect learning to earning by emphasizing the relationship between school, work, and life — and how earning the resources required to have a healthy and enjoyable life starts in grade eight.

Website Activities2020-03-29T05:22:03+00:00

Readings, Quizzes, and More

We often post ‘The First Rung’ ancillary activities on our website, such as a new informative story and reinforcing online quiz, so we can continue to be the soft but persistent voice for education and workforce readiness. As appropriate, we ask school leadership to communicate these opportunities to their students in a variety of ways (morning announcements, emails to students/parents, website notifications).

Occasionally, we distribute small prizes to students who have taken advantage of these learning opportunities.

Getting Our Message to Students2020-04-05T04:28:10+00:00

Our G.R.I.T. Curriculum
Step Up to The First Rung

To ensure that eighth graders ‘get’ our message, we have developed proprietary curriculum that helps students understand what employers will expect from them and how knowing about those demands now can ensure that students can be really ready and have a much longer time to get ready.

‘The First Rung’ curriculum emphasizes what students need to do — and should not do — in preparation for high school and the rest of their lives.

We need only five classroom periods to get our message across to the students — modules target different academic classes. Each is 45 minutes long and aimed at Mathematics class (2), English class (2), and History (1).

Competitive Team Event2020-03-29T05:04:14+00:00

Now Is Not Too Early Video Commercial

To ensure that the critical messages delivered in our The First Rung curriculum are reinforced and repeated as often as possible, we encourage our participating grade eight students to work in small teams to produce and film a ‘commercial’ that summarizes the important points that all students need to embed in their approach to all things necessary for success.

Students plan, develop, and film a three-minute video commercial and the best commercials (as designated by teacher-driven processes) are submitted to a panel of judges (volunteer business people) who will select the best videos. The top three will be featured in a student assembly during which the producers of the videos will receive small prizes.

Focus on Your Résumé2020-03-29T04:35:13+00:00

Strengthen Your Core | And So It Begins

We show eighth graders how they can strengthen their core — their core competencies, that is. We show them how they can take the hard work they do to maintain or improve their knowledge of key subject matter and turn that work into a statement of accomplishments that will impress both college admissions officials and employers alike.

Most English teachers review résumé writing techniques near the end of high school. However, to have impressive content for that résumé, students in grade eight need to develop and implement a plan that will begin to build those accomplishments throughout their high school years. That content needs to showcase his or her academic (hard skills) knowledge base and the soft (interpersonal) skills employers look for in their hiring processes.

Whether that content is showcased in a one-page document, through a series of essay questions in an online application, or during a personal interview matters not. What matters is that those skills need to be showcased appropriately with measurable improvement over time.

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