The College of Education produced a documentary that struck a national chord with teachers and academic advisors who are encouraging students to attend college.
Five preservice teachers and three successful alumni share their journeys to college in “A Walk in My Shoes: First-Generation College Students.” The documentary premiered on campus on Nov. 4 to a capacity crowd as well as viewers who joined via live stream.
First Lady Michelle Obama watched the film’s trailer on Upworthy.com then blogged about her experiences as a first-generation student, which sparked more than 50,000 views.
A Webpage containing each person’s story and an advice section is available so teachers, advisors and counselors can personalize the message for students.
Dean Debbie Mercer commissioned the project after learning more than one-third of the college’s undergraduate students were first-generation college students. Forty percent of K-State’s undergraduate students are first-generation college students, and 70 percent of K-State Salina undergraduate students are first generation.
A highly successful program committed to faculty development is celebrating its 15th anniversary.
The COE Mentoring Program began in 2000 with Linda P. Thurston, associate dean for research and Lydia E. Skeen professor, serving as director. Jan Wissman, associate dean emeritus, led the task force that piloted the program for more than a year before it was launched.
Since its inception, more than 84 faculty members have been mentored or served as mentors.
Thurston said mentorship is a driving force behind the college’s mission to develop knowledgeable, ethical, caring, decision-makers in a diverse and changing world as well as faculty recruitment and retention.
“This program has improved the culture in our college by building a growth-oriented environment that creates a regenerative cycle because today’s mentees are tomorrow’s mentors,” she said. “It has made a difference in people’s lives.”
For 25 years, teachers and preservice teachers have improved their craft locally and nationally thanks to the creation of the College of Education’s Professional Development Schools, or PDS, partnerships.
The program started with three elementary schools in 1989 and has grown to one with 14 elementary schools, five middle schools, two high schools and two distant partner districts.
Gail Shroyer, professor of curriculum and instruction, and Sally Yahnke, associate professor of curriculum and instruction, developed the PDS model as a response to the call for reform in teacher education that originated with the 1983 publication of “A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Report.”
In 1998, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, or NCATE, Professional Development Schools (PDS) Standards Pilot Project, selected the K-State College of Education as one of 20 national PDS sites to participate in the first effort to develop national standards for the PDS program. As a result, these standards were adopted across Kansas and the nation.
In 1999, the department of curriculum and instruction received a $6.7 million grant — the second largest in college history — from the Department of Education after an intensely competitive application process for the PDS partnership project.
The relationship between Fort Riley and K-State has grown stronger thanks to crackers, Ramen noodles, oatmeal — and goodwill.
Students, teachers and staff members at Morris Hill Elementary School on Fort Riley recently donated items to the College of Education’s food pantry. Anna Haffner, clinical instructor and Morris Hill reading instructor, said the school’s community connections committee held a movie night, and the entrance fee was a food item donation.
“We work with K-State so closely with our preservice teachers, so why not use this an opportunity for a food drive,” Haffner explained. “We want people to feel like K-State is part of our family.”
Donations to the college’s food pantry are always welcome and can be arranged by contacting Tonnie Martinez, assistant professor, at email@example.com.
The end of the year is a great time to consider making a tax-deductible donation to the College of Education. Areas of support include student scholarships, technology, research and more. Contact Marty Kramer, director of development, and find out how you can take care of both of your families — your loved ones and your beloved K-State. Kramer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (785) 532-7578.