Some students in Pinellas County are learning the A, B, C's of teaching before even graduating from high school.

What You Need To Know

  • Academy at Seminole High School helps students learn the skills they need to be future teachers

  • The CEL Program currently has 343 students enrolled

  • The program adapted during the pandemic and has remained strong

  • More Education headlines

The Center of Education and Leadership is a career academy at Seminole High School that helps students learn the skills they need to be future teachers, whether it's in a classroom or a boardroom.

Allison French is a senior who's been involved in the program since she was a freshman.

"Getting to do these hands on things with kids all kind of ages really has made me see that teaching is what I want to do in life," she said.

Students learn how to come up with lesson plans for a variety of subjects including math, reading and science and how to deliver them to a class of students.

CEL Program Coordinator Deanna Russo said basically they're being taught how to teach and how to lead.

"That heart pounding that takes place the first time you get in front of a class, they're getting that out of the way right now," she said.

But the pandemic presented a challenge.

Just like actual school teachers, French and her classmates found themselves having to adapt and learn how to teach virtually.

For example, they used a virtual chat room to read and act out a story for students at Bauder Elementary.

"It just helps them be better teachers or if they don't want to teach, they can use these skills in business. It also helps them just be better all-around," said Russo.

French said she feels ready to take her teaching skills to the next level.

She plans to go on to college and major in Education, hoping one day to have full-time students of her own.'

"I hope that I'm great. I hope I'm something like the teachers I've had this year and I hope I get to change kids lives and give them something to look forward to everyday."

The CEL Program currently has 343 students enrolled.

CEL is one of more than 80 magnet, fundamental and career programs Pinellas County Schools offers  through the District Application Programs. A Facebook/You Tube live event and several DAP Fairs will be held in October for students and families to explore the programs. The DAP application period is January 5-14, 2022.