Indiana Teacher Wants to Share the Joys of Early Childhood Education

October 24, 2019

PD Specialist HighlightKim has good reasons to take joy in the work she’s done for the past three years at the Career Academy at Anthis. The staff at her Fort Wayne, IN, high school goes beyond duty’s call to support students’ needs as the early childhood educators of the future. The two-year ECE program gives students all the resources they need to get a Child Development Associate® (CDA) credential by offering them courses and a lab school where they can get the required experience for a CDA. And in 2018, she was thrilled that 15 students received the credential, the largest group ever to do so at the school.

Another exciting development she’s seen is the move toward more technology in her program. Recently the Academy secured 36 laptops and training in Microsoft 365, giving Kim the idea to help students create online portfolios in OneNote so they can access classwork on any device. “OneNote,” she says, “will also allow students to share information with mentors, collaborate with peers and engage in reflective dialogue.” In addition, “tools such as Immersive Reader can better support our students with special needs.”

This combination of high tech and soft touch makes the Academy’s program “one of a kind,” Kim says based on 25 years in the field. Yet enrollment has declined in the past two years because students are discouraged by the low wages that early childhood educators earn in the state. “What they’re not seeing,” she explains, “is the vast opportunities the CDA brings. My hope is to share the successes of our current and former students in new ways that celebrate what our program has to offer.”

When Kim describes the program to ECE directors statewide they’re eager to hear more and she’s eager to collaborate with them in meeting their students’ needs. “I pledge to be the field’s most outspoken advocate” and show the broader field of education that it “can learn a lot from early childhood professionals,” she says. “I love what I do and can’t think of a better way to share the joy of ECE.”


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