The scene… The class gathered around a chalk outline, blood splattered across the ground, hair fibers and fingerprints providing evidence for analysis. Community partners walking students through evidence collection. Students engaging in the investigative process and evidence collection with community partners, following historical clues in the form of primary and secondary sources. This is only a small glimpse into the life of a Public Safety student in our lab.
In addition to crime scene analysis, students will walk through history in order to examine the foundation of our rights, the creation of laws, and the agencies tasked with public safety. Students will turn a critical eye on current events using history to provide context and connections. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of effective communication and interpersonal skills, strong academic skills, problem-solving, safety, and the use of technology.
Public safety begins with understanding civic duty and working to better the community as a whole. Local law enforcement and correctional officers, firefighters, and other community partners will be a part of the classroom in order to bring real-world experience and insight into the topics and themes being discussed. Through projects, students will learn about civic duties, rights, criminal procedure, and how laws are made.
The Public Safety Lab will prepare students for success in the high school public safety pathway. Careers in this pathway include those in corrections, probation, law enforcement, military service, and fire science.
Cherokee Bingham grew up in the Central Valley and knew from a young age that she wanted to be a teacher. She graduated from California State University, Fresno in 2009 with a B.A. in English and a Preliminary Teaching Credential. Cherokee is thankful that Madera Unified took a chance on her as a first-year teacher back in 2010 and continued to help her grow as an educator. Cherokee is now entering her 10th-year of teaching at Mad TEC. She made the difficult decision to leave Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School as an ELA and AVID Excel teacher but is excited and passionate about the work being done at Mad TEC. Outside of school, Cherokee can be seen reading (she loves a good fiction novel, though “good” is subjective), traveling (she loves to stop and explore along the way), attending concerts, or spending time with her puppy.
Gina Bongiorno is in her eleventh year of teaching. She taught for eight years at the 8th grade level and two years at the high school level. Gina attended California State University, Fresno for her Bachelors and Masters of Science Degrees in Criminology and a minor in Psychology. She also attended National University and Fresno Pacific University for her teaching credentials. Prior to getting her teaching and CTE credentials, Gina worked for the Superior Court of California. After working with judges, police officers, attorneys, inmates, and the handling of sensitive courtroom documents, she decided to return back to school. She entered the field of teaching to serve as a positive role model, educator, and mentor to the younger generation.Gina enjoys reading, watching football, being outdoors, and spending time with her pets. One of her favorite hobbies is telling jokes. She loves to make people smile and laugh.
Fabian Casillas Iñiguez was born in Tepatitlán de Morelos in the state of Jalisco, México. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1999 and has called the Central Valley home since then. Fabian attended Fresno State through the Smittcamp Family Honors College where he earned his B.A in History and Social Science Teaching Credential. Currently, he has enrolled at Fresno State again, this time to earn his M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction. He’s excited to share his passion for language and equity with the students of Madera. When not at MadTEC, Fabian enjoys spending time with his wife Alyx and their two dogs, Reagan and Millie. He likes playing games (video or board), reading, watching TV, or listening to just about every genre of music. Fabian is inspired by his students, their experiences and aspirations drive his work and motivate him to be a better person and teacher every day.