Global Tech Academy supports long-term workforce development in Temple.

TEMPLE, Texas (Sept. 24, 2014)—The Temple Economic Development Corporation (Temple EDC) today announced Temple ISD is the first school district in Texas to implement a Global Tech Academy program that provides career training at the elementary school level. Through this program, the school district is helping sustain a highly skilled workforce in Temple that is experienced in technology.

“The program supports economic development efforts in Temple,” said Dr. Bobby Ott, Temple ISD assistant superintendent. “When business leaders are looking to expand or relocate their companies, one of the first things they consider is the local school district—not only because they will want to hire educated, tech-savvy employees, but also because they often have families with school-aged children.”

The forward-thinking Temple ISD administrators and teachers are leaders in Texas’ education system. Other schools districts can learn from the technology program being piloted by Temple ISD.

This year, Temple ISD launched a new, five-year Career and Technology Education (CTE) program with three main career path options: health science, manufacturing and information technology. These career paths support clusters outlined by AchieveTexas in House Bill 5, which aims to provide students with career and technical education experience. The Global Tech Academy is part of the information technology career path.

Temple ISD Director of Career & Technology Education Denise Ayres called upon local businesses to work with the district as partners in creating a strong program. Scott & White Healthcare partnered with Temple ISD to develop the health science career path, but more businesses are needed for the information technology cluster, as well as additional CTE courses such as automotive and human services.

“Having strong business partners in the community will be essential to the success of the program and our future workforce,” Ayres said. “We need involvement from today’s professionals to provide job specific input to the curriculum across the elementary, middle and high school levels so students can build upon the knowledge they gain each year.”

Technology allows professionals to work from anywhere, at any time, with anyone in the world. Ayres said the district’s goal is for all Temple ISD students to graduate with the foundation of applicable knowledge, skills and experience that enables them to enjoy successful careers—no matter where they live and work.

“We are making sure that Temple ISD students graduate with a global education so they can compete for jobs,” she said. “The skills that Temple ISD students will learn in the Global Tech Academy program are transferrable across communities and even states or countries in addition to being pertinent right here in our own community.”

Program implementation
While the health science and manufacturing career paths have initially been implemented at the high school, then the middle and elementary schools, the Global Tech Academy program will first be implemented at the elementary level.

Kennedy-Powell Elementary is the first elementary school in Temple ISD to roll out the Global Tech Academy program. No new funding is available yet for the program, but that will not stop Kennedy-Powell Elementary School Principal Christine Parks and her team from successfully implementing the program this year. Today, the school has access to approximately six iPads per classroom of 17 to 22 students.

“When we first started talking about this program, the initial emphasis was on the devices. We soon realized our focus should not be primarily on having access to the latest tech device because they are evolving and changing almost daily,” Parks said. “Our goal is to teach our students in a way that allows them to feel comfortable with any type of device.”

It is commonly known that young children learn how to use technology easily. Parks said it is important that educators meet students in the world they know and live.

“We teach children ages 5 to 11, and using technology is almost innate for them—they pick it up so quickly,” Parks said. “We will integrate the Global Tech Program into our existing schedule; technology will be part of our lessons on language arts, science, social studies and math. We will teach the students to use digital tools to increase their problem-solving power.”

Parks said that due to technology, careers are evolving rapidly and today’s teachers are tasked with preparing students for jobs that do not even exist yet.

“We believe that it is important to inspire children to be career minded from an early age,” she said. “The reality is, we must use the tools we have today to prepare the workforce of tomorrow.”
Business executives or any professionals who are interested in contributing to the Global Tech Academy program by involvement, financial contribution or equipment donation should contact Denise Ayres at 254-215-7030 or denise.ayres@tisd.org.

About Temple
Temple, Texas, is a community with a diverse economic base that includes healthcare, distribution and warehousing, and manufacturing as its foundation. Within 200 miles of a population of 19 million, Temple is strategically located 39 minutes north of the Austin Metro Area on I-35, making it central within the Southwest U.S. marketplace. For more information, visit www.choosetemple.com.

About Temple ISD
Temple ISD is a 5A school district with two early childhood centers (Pre-K), nine elementary schools (K-5), three middle schools (6-8) two high schools (9-12) and an alternative education campus. Temple ISD serves a very diverse student body of approximately 8,900 students and is the fourth largest employer in Temple with approximately 1,300 employees. Through the years, Temple ISD has produced 200 National Merit Scholar Award winners, including Black Achievement and Hispanic Recognition Scholars. The school district’s motto is: Offering families a GLOBAL education, right here in Central Texas. Visit www.tisd.org for more information.