Excellence in Action Spotlighting: Sunrise Mountain High School, Fire Science Program

Schools and postsecondary institutions must rely on partners, especially employers and community-based organizations, to augment and supplement learners’ experiences. A high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) program requires partnerships that offer support and create authentic real-world experiences. One example of this type of program is the Fire Science program of study in Arizona, a 2018 Excellence in Action Award winner in the Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security Career Cluster®.

The program was started in 2004 due to Arizona’s critical need for employees in fire science. To meet this demand, the Peoria Fire Science Advisory Council worked with Peoria Unified School District to develop the program of study. The Fire Science Advisory Council whose members includes multiple educational partners, eight fire departments, representatives from the Bureau of Land Management, and Professional Medical Transport Ambulance staff, among others. Council members regularly offer work-based learning experiences, including mentorship, job shadowing and internships. The local fire departments are also key partners and their employees serve as mentors, offer internships and even teach in the classroom. For example, the City of Peoria Fire Department has been a partner for over 20 years and provided the first instructors to the Fire Science Department.

“These young men and women come in prepared both physically and mentally while possessing the necessary skills to become a professional firefighter. The Peoria Unified School District Fire Science Program is a huge asset in preparing our future firefighters and lays the groundwork for a successful career in fire service,” said Captain Tony Neely, Lead Recruit Training Officer, Peoria Fire Medical Department.

All learners are required to complete a minimum of 100 hours of work-based learning activities, including internships, job shadowing, ride alongs and more. The hands-on skills the Fire Science students are gaining in workplace settings are complemented by their classroom instruction. Program instructors are an active-duty fire captain and a firefighter, each bringing decades of professional experience to the classroom.

The program prepares learners for postsecondary and career success by providing rigorous in-school instruction. Learners also earn college credit, and various industry certification offerings allowing learners multiple on and off ramps throughout their education and career. Specifically, students can earn up to nine dual enrollment credits, which articulate to an associate of science degree in emergency response and operations in fire science.

Learn more about the Fire Science Program at Sunrise Mountain High School and our 2018 Excellence in Action Award winners.


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