Original article from The Littleton Independent
Littleton, Colorado – Of the 17 students who completed the Littleton Public Schools Teacher Cadet program last year, 16 are pursuing a career in education at a four-year institution, according to the course’s instructor.
The nationwide program came to Colorado in 2000, but 2010-11 was the first school year it was offered by LPS. Students from the Douglas County, Sheridan, Cherry Creek and Englewood school districts also are allowed to participate. The goal is to maximize the quality of the next generation of educators in the United States.
“So often, the best and the brightest go into law, engineering or medicine. What we want to do is promote education as a career and retain students as teachers,” said Katie Kirgan, LPS Teacher Cadet instructor.
This year’s program has 18 students. The class sizes are intentionally kept small because the year-long curriculum is rigorous and includes a heavy dose of hands-on training. The first semester, in the fall, centers on classroom lectures and teacher observations. The students then spend the spring semester gaining field experience, teaching for two hours a day four days a week. The teacher cadets are exposed to education at all levels, from elementary through high school. The 15 required observation hours also includes time spent shadowing administrators.
Teacher Cadet is open to high school juniors and seniors with an interest in education. Students can earn both high school and college credit for completing the curriculum. In addition to learning how to teach, the cadets study the history of education, how to find a job, the licensing process, and legal and ethical issues.
The program calls Littleton Public Schools’ Ames Facility home, which is at 7300 S. Clermont Drive in Centennial. Though it falls under the umbrella of LPS, Teacher Cadet welcomes students from many south metro school districts.
“It provides good perspective to hear different issues from different school districts,” Kirgan said. “It just makes the discussions that much richer.”
LPS’ Teacher Cadet is in a recruiting phase for the 2012-13 school year. Applications will begin to be accepted Feb. 1. Prospective students should possess a grade-point average above 3.0, a good attendance record, solid teacher recommendations and an enthusiasm for education.
The Teacher Cadet program was founded in South Carolina in 1985. It has since spread across the country and came to Colorado in Jefferson County in 2000.. Teacher Cadets is a program created in the state of South Carolina and operated by The Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement.
– Article written by G. Jeff Golden