Inspiring Future Educators: P-TEACH Program Shapes the Next Generation at St. Vrain Valley Schools

The St. Vrain Valley Schools’ P-TEACH (Pathways to Teaching) program is paving the way for the next generation of educators, offering high school students the unique opportunity to gain college credits and firsthand teaching experience. This innovative program, aimed at encouraging students to explore and commit to careers in education, has already made a significant impact on its participants. Among them are two inspiring seniors from Niwot High School, Sia Patel and Murray Avila, who have committed to becoming teachers as they embark on their college journeys.

Empowering Students through Experience and Mentorship

Melissa Dole, the P-TEACH counselor, emphasizes the program’s mission to provide students with extensive exposure to the teaching profession. “It’s a program for high schoolers to take concurrent enrollment classes in college, learning how to become teachers,” Melissa explains. “The idea is to give them the most exposure to the industry and exploration that we possibly can so that they can see what they like, where their preferences lie, and even discover what they might not enjoy. This helps them narrow down their decisions as they move forward after graduation”​​.

Melissa’s advice to students is simple yet profound: “Say yes to opportunities. Even if you feel nervous about it, go for it. You never know what you might get into, and even if it doesn’t end up being your thing, that’s valuable information for your future decisions”​​.

Sia Patel: A Passion for Elementary Education

Sia Patel poses in front of Niwot High School.

Sia Patel, a senior at Niwot High School, reflects on her journey with the P-TEACH program with enthusiasm and gratitude. “I definitely think this opportunity has been great to experience the grade levels I’ve been wanting to try,” Sia shares. Initially unsure about teaching first grade, she discovered a newfound passion during her time at Niwot Elementary. “I’ve actually loved it, and I could see myself continuing in this path”​​.

Sia also highlights the practical benefits of the program. “Getting experience beforehand and even earning college credits has been really helpful in confirming my career choice. I’ll be attending CU Boulder in the fall to study elementary education”​​.

Murray Avila: Bridging STEM and Education

Murray Avila poses in front of Niwot High School

Murray Avila, another senior from Niwot High School, joined the P-TEACH program in his junior year. Despite his late start, Murray found the experience immensely rewarding. “I took Intro to STEM and Teaching STEM, which was a really fun class. It allowed me to see different teaching styles and gave me the opportunity to teach, which I really enjoyed”​​.

Looking ahead, Murray plans to attend the University of Northern Colorado, majoring in education with a minor in computer science. He aims to teach computer science at the middle school level while also focusing on science education. “P-TEACH provided me with classroom experience that many students don’t get until later in their college years. It broadened my perspective on the field and gave me a competitive advantage”​​.

The Path Forward: Inspiring Future Educators

The P-TEACH program not only equips students with practical skills and college credits but also inspires them to pursue careers in education with confidence and passion. As Melissa Dole notes, the program offers “great mentorship, tons of support, and exposure to the field”​​. For students like Sia Patel and Murray Avila, P-TEACH has been a transformative experience, solidifying their commitment to becoming the educators of tomorrow.

With programs like P-TEACH, St. Vrain Valley Schools are fostering a new generation of teachers who are well-prepared, passionate, and ready to make a difference in the lives of their future students. The journey of Sia and Murray is a testament to the power of early exposure and hands-on experience in shaping the educators of the future.

Get Involved

For students interested in joining the P-TEACH program, the process is straightforward. As Melissa Dole advises, “You can get any of our classes on the schedule by contacting me or their counselor”​​. The opportunity to explore the teaching profession and gain invaluable experience awaits, offering a promising path for aspiring educators.

Innovation Center of St. Vrain Valley Schools