Print Mingus adds a class
Written by Lu Stitt   
Wednesday, 09 July 2008 12:08

When looking to the future and what professions will be needed, teaching joins others like nursing and computer professionals.

Mingus Union High School looked at the need and added a new course of study to its Career and Technology Education offerings — Education Professions — for 2008-09. The new course is the 11th offered through the school’s successful CTE program.

“We seek out programs with a baccalaureate aspect. One is our certified nursing assistant program. They can graduate with their CNA and work in a hospital or doctor’s office, and with the background they get they can enter a nursing program,” CTE director Ralph Fobair said.

It is like getting a foot in the door, he said.

According to information Fobair received, Arizona State University is graduating fewer teachers than need to be coming out of college.

“Then add in retirement and we’ll have a shortage of teachers. Even with the slowdown in the economy we’ll still need teachers,” Fobair said.

Education professions grew from a Future Teachers of America club in the Peoria Unified School District in the Phoenix area in 1999 to help address the growing need for teachers, and to provide service-learning experiences.

The essential element is school-based instruction reinforced by extensive field experience. The program will give students the opportunity to explore teaching as a career option. They gain a realistic understanding of education, the role of the teacher and develop leadership skills, Fobair said.

“Because this is a work-based experience with the option to be mentored by people working in the field, a light comes on for the students and they realize, ‘Hey, I can do this,’” he said. “A lot of our CTE students don’t always see college as an option.”

Approximately two-thirds of Mingus students in any given year take at least one CTE class.

With the help of Mingus Principal Marc Cooper and some other staff members, Fobair found out about the program. Along with the program is a Future Educators of American organization. Fobair hopes to establish a new chapter at Mingus.

“You want opportunities in high school, and that’s what this is. It shows them there’s a lot more out there. All of our programs do,” Fobair said.

In December, Mingus’ governing board approved the addition of the education professions program. The students will learn leadership and interpersonal skills, experience work-based learning and preparation for careers in education — to start on the path of becoming a teacher.

“We’ll expand our agreement with Dr. Daniel Bright [Elementary School] like we have with early childhood education. When they finish here, granted, they won’t be teachers, but they will have a step up to get into their degree path,” Fobair said.