Lifelong learning is an asset for anyone, and for teachers it is a necessity.
One of the fastest changing fields in education is vocational studies. To keep their skills and knowledge current, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District teachers go into the business community to train with professionals working in areas of their teaching expertise.
"That has really been our focus -- a lot of hands-on and regional and community team building," said Ben Eveland, the district's vocational education coordinator.
The district sets up four such sessions each school year. It divides the teachers among them and changes the emphases from year to year, so the educators get a broad background in the contemporary job options for their students.
Larry Lawrence, a representative of NAPA auto parts in Soldotna and a Kenai Central High School alumnus, speaks about car parts while educators Ben Eveland, left, from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District vocational program, and Bruce Galloway, an instructor from Kenai Peninsula College, listen.
Photo by Mark Fraad
For example, mechanics teachers visited Glacier Pontiac Buick GMC on Feb. 6 to talk shop with the automotive specialists.
The featured guest speaker was John Sage from the Madison Area Technical College in Wisconsin, a specialist in teaching auto mechanics. Sage is helping the district upgrade the mechanics program for peninsula high schools.
"It was very nice of him to take some time out and help us," Eveland said.
Other instructors included Glacier Service manager James Gossman, Kenai Chrysler technician John Mackie, Kenai Peninsula College gasoline engine rebuilding instructor Bruce Galloway, technical school recruiter David Pearce and NAPA representatives Nolan Compton and Larry Lawrence.
The district's career education specialist, Mark Fraad, was on hand to explore career opportunities for students.
Sean Hutchings of Glacier Pontiac donated the use of the facility.
In two earlier sessions in January, business teachers met with managers at the Kenai Peninsula Borough and construction teachers worked with representatives from TCC (formerly Treate Custom Cabinets) and Spenard Builders Supply.
Last year, teachers of family and consumer sciences traveled to Anchorage for a day with chefs and kitchen managers at Anchorage hotels.
Eveland said the district is in the process of setting up the next content-area training session with peninsula textile businesses.
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