CASE's new pre-service teacher program, which is aimed at producing graduates who are certified to teach a CASE course, completed its first class earlier this year.
The CASE pre-service program is modeled closely after the normal CASE Institute for current teachers, focusing on the design and implementation of the CASE curriculum, introduction to a year-long curriculum plan, and seeing the lessons modeled and carried out on the student-to-teacher level. Once a student completes the pre-service program and is hired into a full-time teaching position, their hiring school will have the option to continue the CASE curriculum and involvement.
"This program is going to be essential for students to have a leg-up," said Dr. Michael Retallick, the associate professor at Iowa State University who coordinated the pre-service program at his institution this past May, "especially for school districts that know about CASE. As teachers are retiring and leaving, they are going to want to replace them with CASE certified teachers."
In order to offer the CASE pre-service certification program, a university must have a CASE certified affiliate professor to facilitate the coursework and oversee the program. Additional pre-service certification requirements and benefits extend to the attendee during and after the program.
Currently Iowa State University and Texas Tech University have piloted the program, but there are plans to expand it in the coming year.
The Iowa State program lasted two weeks, and was available to any undergraduate students majoring in agricultural education. Host institutions are able to plan their own pre-service course on a schedule that fits best for their classes, professors, and facilities.
"We held the classes at the Iowa FFA Enrichment Center, which is also where we hold all CASE Institutes in our area," Retallick said. "Students could register for $250, and we had a group of ten students. I know the cost deterred some students from participating, but it is still a great opportunity."
Dr. Retallick worked with local sponsors to help defray the cost of training., which would have been much higher than the $250 that was charged.
"This program helps to minimize as many barriers as possible once the student starts in their own classroom," Retallick said. "The students get to see how to perform each lesson, how lab equipment works, what issues students might face during the lessons and how to deal with those issues."
For more information about the pre-service program and other CASE programs, please visit www.case4learning.org.