Mooney, Kothe and Neff develop each cohort’s sequence of courses based on a priority of need. A typical schedule includes four two-day seminars, which provide instruction in areas such as Special Education and Classroom Management; Instructional Methods and Lesson Planning; Evaluation and Assessment; and CTE Foundations. This is “must know” curriculum content, Mooney said.
Courses are supplemented with pre- and post-seminar activities based on overall CTE foundations, including work-based learning and career and technical student organization advisement. Courses are instructed by faculty, directors and administrators from UW-Stout, Gateway Technical College in Kenosha and Racine and collaborating school districts.
Charlene Smith, a technology education teacher at Tremper High School in Kenosha, was a member of the first “boot camp” cohort. She attended from 2017 to 2019 during her second and third year of teaching. Smith has her bachelor’s in architectural engineering from Milwaukee School of Engineering and was a design engineer working in fire protection prior to teaching.
Initially, she was asked by Gateway Technical College to teach a few classes because other instructors were overloaded.
“Even though it was one course each semester, I found that I really enjoyed teaching,” she said. “What inspires me is instilling inspiration in my students to create and design. I love when students experience the ‘ah-ha’ moment, where the material or concept clicks and makes sense to them.”
The “boot camp” provided Smith with teaching philosophies and gave her “background on the teacher lingo – education has acronyms for everything,” she said.
“Teaching – and teaching well – requires a lot of dedication,” Smith added. “Unfortunately, even with five years of teaching experience in my current position, I feel that there are teachers who do not look at EBL teachers as equals. I fear there will always be that stigma.”
The boot camp followed a hybrid model in past years, with Gateway campuses serving as neutral delivery sites. However, in 2020, classes were held entirely online with synchronous and asynchronous models.
Mooney thought the online classes worked well within the COVID-19 environment, but she plans to return to face-to-face instruction and activities when it is again safe.
Plans for the 2021-22 online programming are underway and will be scheduled this spring. School districts contract with UW-Stout through the Emerging Center for Career and Technical Education Excellence. Attendees are identified by their CTE coordinators. There is no open enrollment.
An attendee’s next step to receiving their Wisconsin teaching license is to work with their CTE coordinators and human resources to submit their professional license application to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Attendees also have the option to enroll in a graduate-level course through UW-Stout.