Leveraging partnerships with local industries and universities is a great way for K–12 schools to offer students real-world experiences, while also fostering future-ready college students and workers.
The University of Texas at San Antonio and the San Antonio Independent School District have embraced this idea fully through the Centers for Applied Science and Technology (CAST), a network of applied-technology schools, Campus Technology reports. The first school will be CAST Tech High School, which will open next month with 150 9th graders.
“CAST Tech is a career-themed high school focused on coding, cybersecurity, gaming, entrepreneurship, business and more,” reads a fact sheet on the school’s opening.
Students at CAST will be able to earn up to 30 hours of college credit from partners like UTSA and industry credentials from local businesses.
“CAST Tech will use computer-based learning to allow students to progress more quickly in areas where they have mastered concepts, allowing them to dive more deeply into projects and areas of great interest,” reads the school’s website.
Part of UTSA’s contribution to CAST Tech will be teacher preparation, counseling, literacy initiatives and research. To do this, UTSA reports that students and faculty from the College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) will work with CAST teachers and students on project-based learning that incorporates technology.
A news article on UTSA’s website indicates that this partnership will help to facilitate experience for college students looking to become science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers.
“UTSA is continually innovating its approaches in order to best educate and nurture the next generation of STEM teachers for the good of students in our community. This partnership is the best of both worlds,” says COEHD Dean Margo DelliCarpini.
Other universities have embraced similar partnerships with K–12 schools to shape future educators.
“I realized on our end that we were not doing a very good job at preparing [the student teachers] for having complex conversations about what is safe, kind and responsible online,” says the program’s coordinator Liz Kolb. “Our teachers get a chance to learn how to teach this in a safe environment, and the middle schoolers get to have these conversations with adults who aren’t that much older than they are.”