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K-State Today

March 4, 2022

26 K-State College of Education student teachers benefit from Kansas Board of Regents grant

Submitted by Sarah Harper

K-State District map

Twenty-six student teachers in rural and urban schools are being financially supported this semester with scholarships, thanks to a grant Kansas State University's College of Education received from the Kansas Board of Regents for undergraduate student teachers in rural and urban schools.

Project TRUST, or Training Rural and Urban Student Teachers, is a $160,000 award that focuses on helping place-bound students earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Through the grant, the recipients — TRUST Scholars — receive 12 credit hours of tuition support for their final semester. The grant targets students in the college's new online bachelor's degree program, which began in 2017 with eight students; today, the program has 110 enrolled.

The 26 TRUST Scholars are student teaching in USD 109 Republic County, Belleville; USD 111 Doniphan West, Highland; USD 200 Greeley County, Tribune; USD 204 Bonner Springs; USD 216 Deerfield; USD 263 Mulvane; USD 289 Wellsville; USD 307 Ell-Saline, Brookville; USD 323 Rock Creek, St. George; USD 378 Riley County, Riley; USD 379 Clay County, Clay Center; USD 380 Vermillion; USD 384 Blue Valley Randolph; USD 408 Marion-Florence; USD 409 Atchison; USD 435 Abilene; USD 436 Caney Valley, Caney; USD 473 Chapman; USD 500 Kansas City; USD 501 Topeka; and USD 508 Baxter Springs.

Todd Goodson, professor and chair of the college's curriculum and instruction department, is the lead principal investigator for the grant. Assistant curriculum and instruction professors Tonnie Martinez and Lori Goodson are co-principal investigators. The team also includes Eileen Wertzberger, field experiences project coordinator; Susan Erichsen; grant specialist; and LouAnn Getz, research assistant.

In addition to working with teacher pathway programs at local school districts, Project TRUST coordinators collaborate with administrators at Kansas City Kansas Community College in Kansas City and Seward County Community College in Liberal.

"We appreciate the Kansas Board of Regents' support of our continuing efforts to supply rural and urban school districts with the best and brightest teaching force in the nation," Martinez said.

One of the TRUST Scholars, Kaylee Kelley, is student teaching in a kindergarten classroom at Deerfield Elementary School. She grew up in Garden City, about 15 minutes from Deerfield. She and her husband moved to Deerfield, where she had substitute taught and coached.

"So, when it was time to pick my placement, I really wanted Deerfield Elementary School since I already knew the staff and was connected to the community," Kelley said. She chose the BSO program because when she married and moved back to her hometown, she wanted to continue her education at K-State.

"Receiving this award has been truly a blessing," she said. "It is helping me with my future career by allowing me to feel invested in it. It's awesome to not have to worry about finances but instead, the scholarship allows me to fully focus on what I am learning."

Dawson Raymer, another TRUST Scholar, is completing his student teaching in social studies at USD 408 Marion-Florence. The Goodland native said the scholarship made returning to a rural school a possibility.

"To receive the TRUST Scholarship was a huge honor for me," he said. "This scholarship has impacted me tremendously by not only lifting some financial burdens I would have come across this semester but also by allowing me to pursue my goal of teaching in rural Kansas. Rural Kansas will always have a place in my heart, and being able to pursue my goals in teaching wouldn’t have happened without the TRUST Scholarship."