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Collin College Starts Teacher Certification Program in Fall 2000


Collin College Will Start Teacher Certification Program in Fall 2000

Collin College will address an urgent need this fall when it becomes the first community college in Texas to begin a teacher certification program.

Experienced technology workers will be prepared to become middle and high school technology teachers. Collin COllege received approval last week from the State Board for Educator Certification to offer the teacher certification program and will begin instruction during the fall semester.

"Community colleges have long been recognized as one of the best resources for workforce development in the state. It is only logical that they step forward to play a key role in teacher preparation," said Cary A. Israel, Collin College president. "Not only will this vital new program meet a pressing need, it will also help create a model training program for community colleges throughout Texas."

According to a recent report by the American Council on Education, 2.5 million new teachers will be needed over the next 10 years to meet growing enrollments and to replace departing classroom teachers. In Texas, new openings for secondary school teachers are projected to exceed 5,000 annually. Traditional teacher preparation programs in the state produce only 25 percent of the teachers that are needed.

The crisis is even more acute in technology. According to Career and Technology Education (CATE) Directors in North Texas, an estimated 75 percent of the existing teachers will retire within the next five years.

Sam Roach, chair of the Collin College Board of Trustees, said, "It is the ability to adapt quickly to the needs of the community that makes our college and community colleges in general such a vital force in our society. The teacher situation in Texas and across the nation is in a crisis, and one of the answers is this kind of creative thinking. If we do not teach our young people about technology and its applications, they will not have the ability and the interest to become high technology workers."

The college will teach the classes in the Center for Teaching, Learning and Professional Development at its Allen Campus instructional site. Tangent Computers of Burlingame, Calif., has agreed to donate state-of-the-art equipment valued at more than $60,000 to outfit a computer lab for use by the teacher certification program.

The program is geared for individuals interested in non-traditional routes to the teaching profession. To be qualified for the program, students need to hold a bachelor's degree with experience in computer application or a technology-related field. The program will also accommodate emergency certified teachers employed by an independent school district, or certified teachers adding Technology Education to their current certificate. The training necessary to complete the program will vary dependent on the individual's experience in technology and education.

Technology is the process that creates products such as Internet access, wireless phones, roads and bridges, building design and medical equipment. Applications for the first semester's instruction must be submitted by Sept. 1. Priority in admissions will be given to applicants who live within Collin College's service area, which takes in Collin and Rockwall counties.

To create its curriculum, Collin College tapped into the knowledge of CATE directors in 11 North Texas independent school districts and consulted with two regional educational service centers, the Texas Education Agency and the State Board for Educator Certification.

Collin College and 11 public school districts, including Allen, Frisco, McKinney, Plano and Wylie, will be represented on the Teacher Certification Program governing board, which will oversee the program.

For more information or for application forms, applicants should contact program coordinator Brenda Kihl at (214) 495-5780 or by e-mail at teachered@collin.edu.

Collin College serves more than 46,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs. The only public college in the county, Collin College is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and work force development.