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K-State Today

March 26, 2018

Educators from Liberal meet with future teachers

By Patrice L Scott

Teachers and administrators from Liberal, Kansas, visit with future teachers in Kaylee Myers' class.

Educators from Liberal USD 480 recently spent time at K-State — both at a career fair and in the College of Education — sharing their innovative Mercury 7 school redesign program and encouraging future teachers to consider Liberal for their student teaching semester and ultimately, their careers.

Nine teachers and administrators met with future teachers in Kaylee Myers' Core Teaching Skills class. The educators from Liberal High School were: Ashley Kappelmann, principal; Scott Hinkle, assistant principal; Eli Svaty, English teacher/department chair; and Eric Olmstead, social studies teacher. The five educators from Meadowlark Elementary, a Mercury 7 school, were: Shawna Evans, principal; Jennifer Hyde, interventionist; Lyn Day, instructional coach; Gricelda Estrada, ESL teacher; and Maureen Mulligan, kindergarten teacher.

Myers said the educators divided future teachers into two groups — elementary and secondary. She said the future teachers were impressed with the conversation and believes students may be more open to choosing a rural district for student teaching or full-time employment.   

Sarah Bergkamp, a sophomore in elementary education-special needs from Pretty Prairie said the class was quite informative and inspirational.  

"They were really excited to tell us how they are changing the school system, which really caught my attention," Bergkamp said. "I enjoyed what they had to say about their schedule and the flexibility in their classroom."

Bergkamp said she appreciates the college's use of technology, which not only helps the entire state but also future teachers.

"We've been using the SWIVL in class at K-State so we will really be comfortable with it by the time we student teach," Bergkamp said. "I think the college's use of technology provides more opportunities for students to go back home to student teacher or go to western Kansas to student teach. Either way, it provides us with more professional connections and opportunities — for life."

Tonnie Martinez, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction and coordinator of the Office of Innovation and Collaboration, arranged the visit.

"We strive to ensure K-State teacher candidates are up to speed on innovative education practices across our state," Martinez said. "It was valuable for our students to learn about Flex Mod scheduling and other innovative initiatives directly from a Mercury 7 district. We cannot thank these educators enough for the information and inspiration they shared with our students."

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