Law & Public Safety in the Frontier State

Teena Calkin Goes it Alone in Alaska

King Tech High School is a Vocational/Technical school that for the first time this year also has approximately 200 full-time students. Our full-time students begin at 7:30AM in class, all students have one of two Career & Technical Education classes that are 2-hour time blocks and full-time students have a 5th period 1 hour class that ends their day at 2:30pm.  Additionally, we have strong Career Technical Student Organizations through SkillsUSA, HOSA and Educators Rising.  In the 7 years our school has been competing, we have made it to nationals every year in various categories and have won various medals at nationals. 

Teena Calkin, a former Adult Probation/Parole Officer for the State of Alaska has been teaching the Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement class at King Tech High School for the last 13 years.  With her varied law enforcement background as a PO both in Alaska’s maximum security correctional facility and as a field probation officer who had specialized and rural caseloads, a volunteer child advocate and a Loss Prevention Officer (for 3 years), Calkin brings a unique skill set to the classroom.  As a single semester class taught from a college level textbook, Calkin sets a high standard for students to strive for.  Students can pay a nominal $75 fee and get 3 credit hours for an Intro to Justice 110 class through the University of Alaska Fairbanks.    

As part of the class, we cover 13 of 14 chapters and have approximately 10 guest speakers.  Our capstone project is setting up interactive crime scenes with other classes at the school, dispatching my students in predetermined teams to investigate. They have to secure, diagram, photograph, collect evidence and interview subjects to solve the crime.  They get 10 hours (5 days) to complete the investigation and another 10 to complete reports and put together case files.  We combine both class sessions and go to court where students present their crime scene investigations to a Superior Court Judge, Prosecutor and Public Defender.  This helps them connect the dots on why certain things are important, the importance of professionalism and ethics and exposes them to the formal public speaking and writing formats of the courts. Students also participate in 3 other field trips, one to our local female correctional facility where they get to talk with inmates in a treatment program and trips to our Airport Police & Fire department (one of the few left in the country that are combined) and TSA which recruits directly from our class.  We also participate in emergency management projects such as developing our own emergency shelter and figuring out how to keep it running for a minimum of 2 weeks – the time it will take to get help to our state during a major disaster.  Great for critical thinking.  Students are required to wear uniform shirts every Tuesday and Thursday and professionally dress on Wednesdays.  This represents the 3 components of the system. 

Second semester students will be in the Law Enforcement class, which is run like a mini police academy. Monday through Friday the students will have 30 minutes of physical fitness, 30 minutes of academics in a textbook and supplemental resources and 30 minutes of hands on, to include time on our use of force simulator.  The remaining time includes 15 minutes before and after to gear up and gear down.

Students attending KTHS in the CJ/LE program sometime within the school year will have the opportunity to participate in one of 2 categories of Skills USA through an after school program:  Crime Scene Investigation & Criminal Justice.  This will require regular meetings, training with professionals and a desire to compete on the local, state and national levels.  If these students achieve success at the local and state level, they will have the opportunity to attend national competition in Louisville, KY.

We are the only Criminal Justice program in the State of Alaska at this time.

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Thank you Teena Calkin for sharing!

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