Akron Public Schools high school teachers will have the chance this summer to spend two days immersed in various careers to assist in their transition to teaching in the new college and career academies.
Part of a $529,000 grant from the GAR Foundation will pay for teachers to spend two days at places such as Goodyear to learn about careers in areas such as business, engineering or healthcare.
Rachel Tecca, APS director of college and career academies, said the goal of the training is for those who teach core classes like English and biology to be able to relate content to students based on their chosen career interest area within the academies.
"They learn how to teach through that career-themed lens," Tecca said.
The summer training is not required, but a group of teachers from each high school has already signed up, she said. Those who volunteer will earn a stipend for their time over the summer.
Similar experiences will continue through the year.
"We’ll make sure that everybody has that opportunity over the next few years," Tecca said.
The shift toward career academies is big for students, who will have to choose one from dozens of pathways of career interests such as nursing or cosmetology. It's also a major shift for teachers, who will have to draw connections between their subject matter and the students' chosen pathways.
That may be easier in some subjects than others, Tecca said. But teachers have a better shot at drawing lines between science and cosmetology if they spend a few days learning more about what that job entails.
The district will also train the teachers in how to compare the standards they have to teach in their class to those taught in other classes in order to draw comparisons there as well.
This is the largest grant the GAR Foundation has given the district since 2017. Of the $529,000, nearly $490,000 of it will be dedicated to teacher training over the next three years. The rest of the money will help support the career academies through developing student leaders and communications.
Kirstin Toth, the foundation's senior vice president, said the professional development for teachers will be key to the career academies being able to engage students in school.
"The critical element to transforming what happens for students is transforming what happens for teachers," she said.
The foundation, Toth said, sees the career academies as a community-wide effort to fill needed jobs in the Akron area.
"That’s an economic imperative for our city and our schools and for our families," she said.
Contact Jennifer Pignolet at email@example.com, at 330-996-3216 or on Twitter @JenPignolet.