Parent Teacher Magazine Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools September 2017 - Page 6

Teaching future teachers Students at the Charlotte Teachers Early College began classes Aug. 7 ​ rincipal Will Leach P has a clear vision of the mission of Charlotte Teachers Early College (CTEC): inspire students to be educators just as he was inspired. “We want to highlight the good things that can happen in the teaching profession,” said Leach. “Teaching is an honorable profession. We want to expose our students to all the positive things about teaching.” CTEC opened August 7 with 55 students. “I’ve had a chance to meet all of them,” said Leach. “And they are all really excited about teaching. This is something we want to encourage and foster. We want to continue to mold that enthusiasm.” CTEC is on the campus of UNC Charlotte. Leach, already the principal of the UNC Charlotte Early Engineering College, will also lead CTEC program. Many of the students’ classes will take place at the college’s education building. “This will give them great experience getting comfortable with the college environment,” said Leach. The program was created to address shrinking enrollment in North Carolina education programs. Enrollment across the UNC system has declined by 30 percent since 2010. According to Public Schools First N.C., the 15 UNC system schools with teacher preparation programs in the UNC system and all are reporting declines in enrollment in their degree and licensure programs. ”Between the lack of interest and the burn-out that many educators experience in the first years on the job, it’s no wonder that we can’t sustain all the highly qualified educators we need all over the state,” said Kristen Frye, who will be teaching math at the CTEC. “This program provides a rare opportunity for students to start gaining the tools and understandings of what a good teacher looks like and how to emulate that practice.” Frye is a CMS graduate and said she is very invested in the program. “This year will be incredibly special to me, as students share so many similar experiences to me. And I hope that these students help start revitalizing the career that I love and employ a system that provided me with the passion to teach.” CTEC students will have the opportunity to graduate with a high school diploma and 60 hours of college credit at no cost. The five-year program begins in ninth grade and ends with grade 13. “Our goal is for them to be able to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in the time it takes others to earn a bachelor’s degree,” said Leach. CMS has taken a unique approach to early college programs, making applications open to all students. “Many other districts have strict application requirements,” said Leach. “We open it up to anyone so that we can have a diverse mix of students. Truly, everyone has an opportunity.” 4 • September/October 2017 • Parent Teacher Magazine or (704)731-6500