Published Sunday, December 09, 2012
By REBECCA LEFTWICH
Approximately three percent of certified teachers in Coweta County were educated in the public schools here, and many current and potential educators started taking steps toward a career in the education industry as early as middle school.
Coweta’s middle and high school Future Educators Associations held their collective fall meeting recently, inducting new members and installing officers while hearing from a panel of alumni about their experiences.
One extremely successful, long-standing program is Central Educational Center’s Teacher Pipeline.
“Teacher Pipeline is based on attracting young people to the profession of teaching, using middle and high school activities and internships to allow students to decide if teaching is the profession of their choice,” said Dr. Susan Mullins, who directs the program for CEC.
FEA is the only pre-collegiate co-curricular organization available in CCSS for middle and high school students, according to Mullins, and FEA has been approved by the United States Department of Education as a co-curricular career-technical student organization (CTSO).
FEA chapters in each middle school allow interested middle school students to participate in activities and projects at their middle schools, starting future teachers out as early as sixth grade with opportunities for real contributions and explorations in the field.
The Coweta Ferst Foundation Coin Drive is one of the most successful efforts on both the high school and middle school level, and each school has its own set of projects that include helping their school with community projects or special school projects in addition to supporting early literacy through Ferst.
“From promoting citizenship and patriotism to being a school tour guide for new students, FEA members and chapters are busy,” Mullins said, adding that Read for the Record is another successful project undertaken by several high school chapters.
FEA chapter meetings often focus on learning about the college preparation necessary to become a teacher, the job forecast for the teaching profession, and understanding the structure of the schools at the local, state, and national level, Mullins said.
“When FEA members enter high school, they have FEA chapters in which they can participate, if they so choose,” Mullins said. “If students who have not been in FEA decide during high school years that teaching could be an interest they would like to explore, they may join one of the high school chapters.
“The Pipeline of FEA members learn in their middle and beginning high school years about CEC course work that explores careers in education,” Mullins added.
Earning college credit while still enrolled in high school is another attraction for potential educators.
“Mercer University articulates the first CEC high school internship with their beginning education course required of all education majors,” Mullins said.
The State Board of Regents articulates the CEC series of three internships and awards students credit for the first required education course in their program of study at Georgia public universities.
Last year, 95 percent of all CEC Teacher Pipeline Interns who participated in articulated course work received their first college credit in the major program of study – education – by passing their articulation assessments.