TRAVERSE CITY – Success stories hang staggered along the walls of the south corridor of the Career-Tech Center in the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District.
Framed photos of Daryl Dimon, Andrea Podsaid, Danielle Setter and Darcy White among many others – all CTC Teachers Academy graduates who left only to come back and pass on the lessons they learned as juniors and seniors in high school.
“It’s about building personal relationships with students,” said Dimon, who was among the first group of students to attend the academy in 2002 and now teaches English language arts in middle school. Kalkaska. “It introduces you to many important topics in education and gives you a head start when you are actually in your college education courses.”
The Teacher Academy is in its 16th year and has provided that milestone to more than 1,200 students, a feat that was recognized nationally earlier this month in Washington, DC, when Advance CTE presented the award. Excellence in Action on the program.
âThis is a great recognition of the quality of the program,â said TBAISD Deputy Superintendent Jason Jeffrey. âThis says a lot about the students in the program who are future professionals in the field. That says a lot about the staff behind the program and the school staff who are part of what we’re trying to do.
The Teacher Academy was established in 2002 in response to an expected shortage of educators in an effort to create a career path for students interested in teaching and a pool of local teachers available for hire at the ‘to come up.
âThis is the most rewarding part of it all. We have come full circle, âsaid Susan O’Connor, Coordinator of the Teachers’ Academy. “They came back to our region with a wealth of knowledge and experience, and then they give back to the students of the Teacher Academy by welcoming them.”
The program attracts students from 26 schools in the region whose teaching is a mixture of academic and technical education as well as on-the-job learning.
Program participants work with teachers and students from their home school, with an emphasis on primary, secondary and special education. They complete over 400 hours of field experience during the two-year program.
âIt’s about building personal relationships with students,â Dimon said. âYou try to work with different learning abilities. You try to cover whether they are auditory, visual, or practical. You are trying to put together a range of different lessons.
One hundred percent of participants in the 2016-2017 class have graduated from high school and 92 percent have enrolled in post-secondary studies.
“What makes it successful is the content of the program, the pedagogy, the teaching of the teaching,” said Jeffrey. âIn fact, they teach. It’s not about making copies or jotting down papers or being the teacher’s official runner. These students work to provide education.
Northwestern Michigan University, Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Ferris State University, and Baker College all partner with the program to offer several post-secondary options.
âThey can see and observe what a career in education looks like before making the decision to pursue further education,â said CTC Director Pat Lamb. âThey’re not going to spend two or three years in college thinking they want to be a teacher only to find out they don’t. I guarantee they know when they leave the program if they are going to continue their education or if they choose not to.
The Teacher Academy also received the Michigan Excellence in Practice Award in 2013 from the Michigan Department of Education.