Cass Career Center to Offer New Program next Fall

Cass Career Center plans to open a new program for students next fall – Career Pathways for the Teaching Profession. The program proposal was approved by the Harrisonville Schools Board of Education in November and awaits state approval in early December.

Cass Career Center Director Dr. Anne Hickman quoted in her proposal to the board said, “Staffing shortages in the teaching profession have consistently been a challenge for a number of years. There is every reason to believe that COVID only exacerbated the problem. The decline impacts all schools but particularly schools with high percentages of students of color, schools with high percentages of students in poverty, and urban and rural remote schools the most. Therefore, it was decided to start a Career Pathways for the Teaching Profession program at CCC to help combat this growing crisis in Cass County.”

The program will be open to high school juniors and seniors and will be a two-year program – Teaching Professions I and Teaching Professions II. During the first year, the school anticipates an enrollment of 24 students between the morning and afternoon sessions.

Teaching Professions I will introduce students to the various roles within the school setting and other education-related careers. Students will explore the history of teaching, teaching practices, various contexts of teaching, and contemporary issues related to education. Teaching Professions II will provide the opportunity to gain experience in a classroom setting by interning in local Pre K-8 classrooms under the direct supervision of a host teacher.

“A grow-your-own program builds a pipeline of future teachers by initiating, cultivating, and supporting local school students and other individuals to consider the teaching profession. In fact, research indicates that high school students who become first-year teachers are likely to go back to teach in the school they attend,” Dr. Hickman noted in her proposal

The new program was made possible through voters’ support of the Proposition N bond issue through which new classroom space is being added to the school.

The new program will provide the opportunity for students to earn high school English and math credit in addition to three hours of teaching course credit per year through the career center’s English IV and Math IV programs. Students will also be able to participate in the career and technical student organization, Education Rising. Dr. Hickman said, “Graduates of the 2023 class could be working in Cass County schools by August of 2023 as paraprofessionals and substitute teachers and be employed by August of 2027 as certified teachers.”

High school students will receive additional information on the new program during their enrollment process this spring.