The Copperas Cove Independent School District superintendent met with the Retired Teachers Association to discuss the school system’s direction of education and how they can help.
“I always love to come and see you folks because you people understand what we do,” Superintendent Joseph Burns said, addressing about 50 retired Copperas Cove teachers and administrators.
Two of the main focuses of the district this year involve preparing students for life after high school, Burns said. The district is working to expand its dual-credit courses to allow students to be ready for college and help complete some of the course load.
By expanding the dual-credit courses, students can practice college curriculum with the “tremendous safety net” of high school, he said. It also helps parents save money as they are not having to pay for failed classes taken at universities.
“I think that is a good way to do it, because more kids can get involved in college before heading to a university,” said Ann Harmon, a retired teacher.
The district also wants to improve its workforce readiness program, which will allow students to find jobs right after high school, Burns said.
“There is a number of professions that are out there that make a lot of money, but don’t need a college degree,” Burns said.
Employers of labor-related businesses said it is getting harder to find employees to fill those roles. Those fields include mechanics, builders, electricians and similar jobs.
“If you can teach kids to do brakes and the air conditioning (in cars), they can make a living anywhere,” Burns said.
Retired teacher Emily Hall said she was glad the district was focusing on creating a workforce and college readiness.
“It is needed,” she said. “Not everyone, as (Burns) said, is college material.”
Workforce trade programs could also help some obtain a college goal if that is what students want, said Joyce Worley, a retired teacher.
“Some kids need a job while they get an education,” she said.
Cove ISD will also focus on literacy, Burns said.
“Our focus is that our little kids are reading by the time they come out of the first grade,” he said.
“Reading is the basis for all skills. If they are not caught up at an early age then they are lost along the way.”
Burns also asked for the retired teachers’ help in educating new teachers.
“Who better to help teachers than the retired teachers,” he said.
The program would pair retired teachers as mentors with new teachers. The group would meet at least once a month, Burns said, and retired teachers would be paid for their time.
Several members of the association said they would be interested in participating in the program.