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Anoka High School (AHS) students ‘rise’ to the occasion, shadow teachers for career exploration

Anoka high school student shadows Lincoln elementary class(03/01/2024) Anoka High School (AHS) students interested in education careers were able to envision themselves pursuing their future aspirations as part of their school day on Wednesday, Feb. 28, when they visited nearby Lincoln Elementary School to shadow teachers — an opportunity provided through the Educator’s Rising program.

Educators Rising is a program that introduces students to the teaching profession and allows them to gain a realistic understanding of the nature of the profession and the roles of educators in various areas of expertise. Students can explore a variety of careers in education, including teaching, administration, psychology, nursing, social work, counseling, community education, mentoring and more. The program advisor at AHS, Katie Hale, explained, “It’s such a great resource for students to be able to discover if education is for them while brightening someone else's day.”

A full-circle experience

The concept of shadowing teachers and observing classes as an introduction to the field of education isn’t new. Mahogany Mechelke, an AHS sophomore who hopes to one day be an elementary school teacher, shadowed both a first-grade and a fourth-grade classroom at Lincoln Elementary.

The first-grade teacher Mechelke shadowed - Hailey Skinner - a 2015 grad of AHS - first explored her interest in teaching by participating in a child development class at AHS as a student herself, which influenced her volunteering to allow another high school student to shadow her classroom, this time around.

“I liked watching how she worked with [the students],” Mechelke said. “She had a very calm classroom.”

The Family and Consumer Sciences programs at Anoka-Hennepin’s five traditional high schools allow students to observe preschool classes offered in the high schools - which ultimately led Skinner to a teaching career in the district. Skinner is currently in her second year teaching first grade at Lincoln Elementary, following her experience teaching preschool at the school, in addition to Riverview Early Childhood Center.

Making a difference

Another AHS sophomore, Cedar Kilby, spent the afternoon in a music classroom at Lincoln with Josiah Torvik. Kilby’s involvement in the Educators Rising program is intended to explore how psychology fits in a school setting. Kilby enjoys participating in after-school opportunities to support students at school. “We have helped with a book drive, write and deliver cards for kids in hospitals and help with activities at other elementary schools,” Kilby said.

The Educator’s Rising program is offered at all five traditional high schools in the Anoka-Hennepin School District through a partnership with Northwest Suburban Integration School District (NWSISD). In addition to shadowing opportunities, students participate in career exploration events, college visits and an annual leadership conference.

“I am really proud to help lead such an incredible group of students with Educators Rising,” said Hale. “Their passion and drive to support the younger students in our district…and invest time into their own futures is inspiring.”

View photos from the AHS Educator’s Rising visit at Lincoln Elementary School.