TECTA Enrollees Gain At No Cost To Student

TECTA Enrollees Gain Education, Experience, and Credential at No Cost to Student
Posted on 11/02/2022
WCS Faculty and TECTA Students
Weakley County Schools students are on their way to earning a Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) for the first time through dual enrollment with Dyersburg State this school year – at no cost to the student.

Dresden High and Westview High dual enrollment students can earn a Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) thanks to the High School Equivalency Program through the Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance [TECTA] partnership with our district. The courses are facilitated through dual enrollment with Dyersburg State Community College.

Obtaining the industry valued CDA credential leads to high quality employability and better opportunities in the professional childcare sector.

Students in the TECTA High School Equivalency Program work toward earning the credential directly from their high school classrooms in a hybrid of online coursework and practical application in a childcare setting. Typically enrolling freshmen year, students work toward eligibility to earn the credential in tandem with regular coursework throughout their high school career.

By earning the credential while in high school, students can more easily transition into the workforce or post-secondary degree attainment with the required education and experience. The program’s course load includes a TECTA gateway course, credential prep courses, portfolio, 480 hours of professional work experience, and the CDA exam.

Westview High Human Studies Instructor Lauren Freeman said that the program’s structure provides students with the option of a multi-directional career path.

“Professionals who hold the CDA credential are in high demand statewide, so there are many incentives to entice individuals to consider a career in childcare. A great thing about this particular program is that the career pathway is flexible. Everything learned in the courses is foundational and will help prepare the students for any future career in childcare and/or education,” said Freeman.

Students can earn an income along with gaining education and experience, according to Dresden High Human Studies Instructor Pat Phillips.

“Students often work toward other certifications or degrees while earning money in a position they obtained by holding the CDA credential. There are also opportunities to earn more money, on top of what they make from the employer, directly from the Tennessee Department of Human Services if the student meets certain requirements. It’s an attractive program but it requires a student’s commitment,” said Phillips.

Tilley Hopper and Autumn Brackett, Dresden High School students enrolled in TECTA, said that the program has advantages.

“It’s great that the program lets me use what I’m learning as I learn it. I work for a daycare for a couple of hours after school. It’s interesting to work on something in class and later watch it come to life at my job that day. I’m a hands-on, visual learner, so it is beneficial to be able to make that direct connection in action,” said Hopper.

“I like that I can earn the CDA credential and get a job in the field while I’m considering what else I’d like to do in the future,” said Brackett.

Career and Technical Education Director Lindsey Parham is pleased that the program is thriving.

“We are constantly working to build partnerships with post-secondary institutions and local industry that will lead to credentials, post-secondary credits, and careers. We are excited and proud of our students for their successes in this program,” said Parham.

Director of Schools Randy Frazier is grateful for the chance to help grow students.

“The TECTA Program is a fantastic opportunity for students. This is another great example of how partnerships can result in the most unique collaborations with rewards for all involved. Investing in students who then invest in future students is a full circle in which everyone benefits. We are thankful for the continued support of our local, regional, and state partners in education,” said Frazier.

TECTA is a statewide early childhood professional development system collaborative that is facilitated through various universities and colleges across the state, and the Tennessee Department of Human Services. Enrollees who complete the program can receive tuition support, scholarships, and/or assistance in earning additional credentials and degrees.

For information about the TECTA Program in Weakley County Schools, contact Human Studies Instructors Pat Phillips at Dresden High School or Lauren Freeman at Westview High School.
tecta group

L to R: Career and Technical Education Director Lindsey Parham, TECTA student Autumn Brackett, TECTA student Tilley Hopper, and Dresden High School Human Studies Instructor Pat Phillips

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