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K-State Today

February 28, 2018

Panel of Topeka High students present in Goodson's core teaching class

Submitted by Patrice L. Scott

For the second time this year, a group of courageous students from Topeka High School spoke to future teachers as part of their school's Courageous Conversations diversity initiative. 

The Topeka High students were led by Lesia Carter, a social worker and academic coach who has served the school for 25 years. They addressed future teachers in the Core Teaching Skills course taught by Lori Goodson, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction.   

The students wrote words or phrases on cards such as "I am a Christian," "I am gay," or "I am undocumented," then asked the future teachers to hand a card to the person on the panel they thought it described. The majority of future teachers guessed wrong. 

"This bright and brave panel of high school students, through their time at the College of Education, helped our future teachers understand the importance of advocating for all students," Goodson said. 

Robert Hachiya, assistant professor of educational leadership, said this partnership came into existence about three years ago after a group from the college's Diversity for Community committee visited with teachers at Topeka High School and one of the magnet schools in Topeka. The goal was to nurture relationships with diverse school districts.

"During that initial meeting, we met with a group of students from Topeka High's equity team and were so impressed that we invited them to campus to speak to our undergraduate classes," Hachiya said. "The main purpose was to have those students speak about issues of concern they have with their teachers — new and veteran — which would hopefully provide some insight to our own teacher candidates. An additional benefit was bringing those students to campus to experience K-State and the College of Education."