Typically, when you ask a five-year-old what they want to be when they grow up, they might say “astronaut, policeman, firefighter, or even one of the Avengers.”
Olivia Rosas, an eighth-grade student at Briscoe Middle School, has had her life planned out since Kindergarten when she would sit her little brother Frankie down along with all her stuffed animals to teach a math or spelling lesson.
“My plan is to graduate from UTSA, get my master’s degree, and be either a first-grade or fifth-grade teacher in Northside,” Rosas explained. She credits her Kindergarten teacher Stephanie Maldonado and first-grade teacher Megan Sanchez for inspiring her on the teaching path.
“I want to be that classroom that is a safe place for students to come, where they can reach their goals and be successful,” she said.
Rosas was one of the first students to apply to the CAST Teach High School, San Antonio’s first high school dedicated to careers in education.
8th magnet school focuses on teaching careers
CAST Teach High School, the eighth high school magnet program in NISD, will open in August 2022 and be housed at Stevens High School. This innovative school of choice is a collaborative effort between NISD, CAST Schools Network, and the University of Texas at San Antonio.
“This school is an opportunity unlike any other program because from the first day of school students will be able to shadow teachers, working side-by-side with mentor educators, coaches, counselors, and librarians,” says Ericka Olivarez, CAST Teach Principal.
“I am really looking forward to being able to go to elementary school and getting hands-on experience in classroom management, taking care of students, the job shadowing aspect, and going to UTSA,” Rosas said.
Find your passion and teach it
“This is the time to try out the various areas of teaching,” Olivarez explained. “For example, if a student has a passion for art, they can try it at all three levels (elementary, middle, and high school) to see what might be the best fit and make the most informed decision when they go into college.”
When talking to students about CAST Teach, Olivarez first starts with asking the students what they are passionate about, what do they like to do. “If they like to play video games, have they thought about being a video game design teacher or if they like athletics, have they thought about going into coaching,” she said.
CAST Teach includes a variety of careers within the education path such as counseling, coaching, and librarians as well as teaching.
The curriculum for CAST Teach is also unique in that students will take all four core areas as well as specialized Education courses entirely at CAST Teach High School, but instead of just learning the content, they will also learn strategies on how to teach the subject matter at the same time.
There are three major areas within the CAST Teach program:
- Academics- Life Ready Skills: Students learn instructional practices and content; leadership, presentation, and critical-thinking skills; project-based learning with real-world problem solving, collaboration, and communication; and customized pathways such as early learning or teaching and training.
- College Ready & Competitive: Students have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement courses, receive dual credit at Northwest Vista and UTSA, do research with UTSA Professors and university students, attend Summer Bridge Academies at UTSA, participate in UTSA mentorship opportunities, and attend university events, conferences, fairs, etc.
- Career Ready & Connected:
- Ninth & tenth-grade students will be exposed to a broad range of educational careers such as teaching (all levels), coaching, counseling, library studies, and careers in the private sector
- Eleventh and twelfth-grade students have the option to specialize in special areas of interest with practicums, internships, and research assistantships.
CAST Teach High School students also have the opportunity to participate in UIL Sports and clubs within Stevens High School and are part of the Stevens Falcon community.
Partnership with UTSA for 11th and 12th grade
Although the first year of CAST Teach will open with only a ninth-grade class, by the time the students are in the 11th and 12th grade they will be eligible to take Dual Credit Courses at UTSA with transportation provided from CAST Teach High School.
Applications are now open for the first class of CAST Teach High School. The school will open with 125 to 150 students. Applications are also open to rising ninth-graders from the Greater San Antonio community living outside the NISD area.