More than 50 high school students from Itasca Area Schools Collaborative (IASC) and Chisholm gathered at Itasca Community College (ICC) for Class Act Day, a day where students can learn about their options if they are considering going into the education field. The event took place Thursday, Feb. 6 from 9 a.m. to noon and included program information, activity stations and testimonies from current Class Act students.
Class Act is a program at ICC that allows students pursuing education to have classroom experiences starting right away in their first year. Highlights of the program include paid classroom field experiences; opportunities to visit educational sites such as elementary, middle high school and charter schools; and college visits to St. Scholastica and Bemidji State University. Students in the Class Act program receive an Associate of Arts degree and take the same courses as other ICC students, but their courses are “tweaked” toward education. All students in the program must maintain a 2.5 GPA in all of their courses or may be dropped from the program.
“I want you to walk away today with information you can use,” said Anna Francisco, coordinator and instructor of the Class Act Program at ICC to students on Class Act Day.
Francisco explained the Homegrown Teacher Initiative began with IASC high schools in partnership with the ICC. The initiative looks to schools and communities to help students pursue a career in education with the chance that the student may come back to their communities in the future.
“This initiative is part of the IASC Education Pathway work to allow students an opportunity to learn more about careers in the education field,” said Francisco. “Introduction to Teaching is a course offered in many IASC high schools that allows juniors and seniors to learn introductory teaching topics and gain hands-on experience in a classroom to deepen their knowledge of the profession.”
If a student is interested in pursuing a career in education after completing the course, the school will assist them follow this pathway to complete their degree. The pathway also includes the Early Childhood and Class Act programs at ICC. Intro to Teaching students Neesha Moore and Ayden Belille at Deer River Public School designed the initiative’s logo. The logo features the Seven Grandfather Wisdoms—love, respect, truth, humility, courage, honesty and wisdom. Francisco noted that all of these qualities can be applied to education.
Fransicso commented on the large turnout at this year’s Class Act Day. Typically the event sees around 20 to 25 students in attendance. This year, that number more than doubled.
“This is due to amazing support from IASC schools, counselors, teachers, administrators and community members to get students interested in a career in the education field,” Fransicso said. “Students learned about the art and science of teaching. We talked about characteristics of a professional educator and also learned about Howard Gardner's Theory of multiple intelligences. Students enjoyed sharing about their favorite teachers and doing hands-on activities.”
Additional information about the Class Act program at ICC can be found at https://www.itascacc.edu/classact