BY KAREN CAMPBELL
Weakley County Schools Communications Director
WEAKLEY COUNTY (January 13) – Students at Dresden, Gleason and Westview could easily be on the path to a potential career in childcare thanks to a collaborative effort between high schools and universities and the ever-growing access to online learning.
Representatives from the Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance (TECTA), a project initiated by Tennessee State University and the TN Department of Human Services and housed in the area at Dyersburg State Community College’s Gibson County Center, launched the 10-module learning opportunity last week in the county high schools which offer the life span development class.
“Childhood development is among the topics usually covered in the life span class,” explained Lindsey Parham, WCS Director of Career and Technical Education. “This new partnership allows the students the opportunity to earn a certificate that will open the door to tuition assistance for further education and entry level positions. The online content is the part of the orientation for specializing in jobs at childcare centers or with families, from infants to school age, in direct care or administration.”
TECTA Director Kelly Maupin and Specialist Julia Lynch traveled to each of the three participating high schools to introduce Lynch, who will be overseeing the virtual experience, and begin the process that will ensure students have access to the portal where videos, study materials and discussion threads await.
Lynch pointed out that even if students are not interested in a career in childcare, the material covered will be beneficial if they have siblings or are interested in a family in the future.
In Dresden, Pat Phillips teaches the class that will provide the time needed for three days a week for the online interaction and two days for direct interaction with children. Students will also be able to study on their own and using directed study periods to complete the ten weeks of content.
Phillips said she had 14 students in the class with at least half considering working in the childcare field.
Fellow county advisors for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America and teachers McKenzie Hurst at Gleason and Lauren Freeman at Westview helped to shape the new option for students interested in the career track.