Spring Creek launches Lake's first middle school chapter of Florida Future Educators of America
Spring Creek Charter School has launched a chapter of the Florida Future Educators of America (FFEA), making it the first middle school in Lake County to do so.
Seventh- and eighth-grade students who demonstrated leadership qualities and a passionate interest in teaching as a profession were selected to participate in the chapter as an elective course.
Using the Educators Rising curriculum, the students will explore seven Rising Leaders standards:
- Understanding the profession
- Learning about student development
- Building content knowledge
- Engaging in responsive planning
- Implementing instruction
- Using data to make decisions
- Engaging in reflective practice
“We’re hoping to get them excited about teaching early,” said Wesley Locke, principal of Spring Creek.
His goal aligns with that of the Lake County Schools district, which launched a Teaching Academy in partnership with the University of Central Florida at Tavares High School this year. The academy offers students an advanced, hands-on curriculum in preparation for a career in teaching. After high school, students who complete the academy may continue with their post-secondary education at UCF, complete internships in Lake schools, and are guaranteed a job interview with the school district, where they can start their teaching career.
District leaders see it as a win for Lake schools, as the academy can provide a steady pipeline of well-trained teachers with a connection to the county.
Locke believes students who participate in the FFEA chapter at Spring Creek could have a head start on entering that pipeline.
“I feel like being in this course will teach me a lot about being a teacher, and hopefully someday I can become a member of Lake County Schools,’’ said Abigail Dunn, one of 16 Spring Creek students enrolled in the FFEA elective course.
Her classmate, Tapangia Biehl, has similar aspirations. “I wanted to be in this class because I want to be a teacher when I grow up,’’ she said. “I love working with children and helping them become what they want to be.”
The class will be taught by Literacy Coach Kelly Ferrie, a former Spring Creek student. “The Educators Rising organization indicates that in 2015, only 5 percent of high school graduates planned to pursue a degree in education,’’ she said. “This is striking to me, considering I wanted to be an educator based on my previous experiences at school. I want to support students at a young age to explore their interest in the field through mentorships with teacher leaders. I believe there is hope for the field of education, and starting with career exploration opportunities with our young students is the key.”