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K-State Today

September 30, 2020

Ed Symposium goes virtual and doubles as recruitment event

Submitted by Patrice Scott

Education Symposium

Education Symposium — the annual professional development day for future teachers in the College of Education — will now reach prospective education majors as it doubles as a recruitment event. It will take place virtually from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 8. 

Referred to as Ed Symposium, the event is planned by future teachers for future teachers. Topics are selected based on issues and concerns future teachers anticipate as early-career educators. Registration is open.   

Roger Schieferecke, assistant dean and director of the Center for Student Success, said it could attract 500 participants. 

High school students in teacher pathway programs across the state as well as students in the college's K-STEP UP program are invited to attend. K-STEP UP is a teacher pathway program for underserved or place-bound students in Liberal and Kansas City, Kansas. The college's K-STEP UP partner institutions are Liberal High School, Seward County Community College, Sumner High School and Kansas City Kansas Community College. 

"This is an ingenious reimagining of an event in terms of reaching prospective students," Schieferecke said. "Ed Symposium offers significant insights into our college, and I think this is a fantastic way for prospective students to see what our college is all about." 

According to Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, participants will screen the college's documentary about Project BESITOS — a federally funded TITLE III program that graduated 115 students from Kansas who earned bachelor's degrees in education and ESL endorsements. All are still in education, and 70% have earned master's degrees and 10% and counting have earned a doctorate or are in progress. 

"BESITOS was an extraordinary success — thanks to Socorro Herrera and her commitment to underserved students," Mercer said. "Future teachers will gain a greater understanding of what drives our faculty, what makes K-State different, and what is possible when people have access to a quality education. I believe the documentary's underlying message will inspire and deeply resonate with our Ed Symposium audience."  

Ana Mendonca, event organizer, said Ed Symposium serves a critical purpose. 

"Ed Symposium is a great way for future teachers to learn from current K-12 educators exactly what is happening in schools," she said. "We invite a variety of presenters — teachers, social workers, school counselors and administrators willing to share the challenges and successes they experience on a daily basis — so K-State future teachers are classroom-ready upon graduation." 

Mercer and Marvin Wade, superintendent of Manhattan-Ogden USD 383, will welcome attendees. The schedule is as follows:

  • Track A, Beginning Teacher Success, begins at 9 a.m.
  • Track B, Teaching with Educational Technology, begins at 10 a.m.
  • The Hause Creativity Lecture will begin at 11:10 a.m. and features the Kansas Teachers of the Year, or KTOYS. It is the only presentation the KTOYS will make this year.
  • A screening of the college's BESITOS documentary begins at 1:30 p.m.
  • Track C, Wellness Before and After a Crisis, begins at 2:20 p.m.
  • Track D, Crisis Management and Communication, begins at 3:20 p.m.
  • Closing remarks begin at 4:20 p.m. 

One of the highlights that occurs mid-morning is the Hause Creativity Lecture featuring the Kansas Teachers of the Year, or KTOYS. The lecture was named in memory of longtime College of Education professor Richard Hause whose passion for creativity in the classroom was legendary. Given the limitations due to COVID-19, it appeared the KTOYS would not be able to present at this year's symposium. 

"The KTOYS are the rainmakers of our profession, and Ed Symposium would not be the same without them," Mercer said. "We were elated to learn they'll be sharing their wisdom and enthusiasm for teaching with us virtually. It will be their only presentation as a group this year, and we feel incredibly lucky that it's with K-State." 

Along with Mendonca, four elementary education committee chairs planned Ed Symposium. They are Emma Barge, junior; Sally Lopez, senior; Bryn Morgenstern, junior; and Taylor Weber, senior. 

"Ana and the committee have done an outstanding job of selecting topics that are of interest to both our EdCats and high school students," Schieferecke said. "We really appreciate the extra effort required to make Ed Symposium appealing to all attendees."