Students at A.K. Smith Career Center who are enrolled in the Education Professions program are getting back into the classroom, but this time in a whole new way. Thanks to a partnership between La Porte County Career and Technical Education and Michigan City Area Schools, these juniors and seniors are now spending several hours each month in an elementary school classroom to get some real-world experience.

“Students don’t truly know what it’s like to be a teacher until they are in the classroom,” said Cathy Lindgren, Education Professions teacher. “This gives them a deeper understanding of lesson planning, the method and practice of teaching, and classroom management.”

Education Professions students will spend one day per month in an elementary classroom. Observation is the primary goal – watching a teacher in action. Throughout the semester, the high school students will become more actively involved in supporting teachers, and they will conclude their experience by teaching a lesson.

Currently, Knapp and Edgewood elementary schools are partners in this program, but Lindgren said it will eventually expand to include other schools and grade levels.

Delincia Smith, Director of La Porte County Career and Technical Education, said the new partnership is a key element of the Education Professions program, which enables high school students to earn dual credit through Ivy Tech. “We are very fortunate to have local educators willing to share their expertise with our students,” she said. “This initiative will be both educational and inspirational for these future teachers.”

Principal Holly Martinez of Knapp Elementary School said the first day of this program was a success at her school.  

Our teachers at Knapp were thrilled to have students that are eager to become educators be in their classrooms to see how a day in the life of a teacher flows,” Martinez said.  “The A.K. Smith students and staff were flexible, energetic, and engaged in what was happening around Knapp. I know everyone is already looking forward to the next time we’re together in March.”

More information regarding the Education Professions program and other programs offered through La Porte County Career and Technical Education is available by visiting