Kansas State University’s College of Education is getting national attention for doing what it does best: Preparing educators, both current and future.
The college is featured in Newsweek magazine’s list of 2015’s great teaching schools. The magazine cites the college’s national award-winning programs; centers that address many of the key topics in education, such as diversity and professional development; and its innovative initiatives to advance teaching and education, including original documentaries that can be used as classroom resources and programs to assist early-career teachers.
The Newsweek article continues a tradition of national recognition for the college — including 12 major awards since 2012 — and shows why the college produces more teachers annually than any other program in Kansas, according to Debbie Mercer, dean of the college.
“The College of Education at Kansas State University is having an impact on the field of education around the nation and the world,” Mercer said. “Whether it is through research, textbooks — one was recently translated into Chinese — or through the college’s online offerings of graduate programs, the fact is people from all walks of life are seeking us out to start their careers and advance them.”
The University Professional & Continuing Education Association Central Region presented the Council for Public School Improvement with the 2015 UPCEA Central Region Mature Noncredit Program Award at its meeting last month in Madison, Wisconsin.
The program was selected based on six stringent criteria: cost effectiveness, longevity, innovation, diversity, quality, and contribution to adult/continuing education. John Bergkamp, Valley Heights superintendent and CPSI board member explains teachers and students are the beneficiaries of CPSI programming.
“Educators are able to learn from the best of the best in the field and are able to return to their classrooms with strategies and tools they can implement immediately,” Bergkamp said. “With limited budgets and the challenge of sending educators to far off locations for important staff development opportunities, CPSI has afforded Kansas districts the chance to gain relevant and research-based professional development on a continuous basis.”
The CPSI program was founded in 1986 as a partnership program between the K-State College of Education and school districts in Kansas. Program objectives include fostering improvement at all levels of public education and developing and implementing collaborative networks and professional development opportunities within school districts and the university.
The Center for Social Studies at K-State is offering a free professional development program for Kansas’ civics and government teachers wanting to provide an exemplary curricular program for their students.
The James Madison Legacy Project is part of a nationwide professional development program directed by the Center for Civic Education, a nonprofit educational organization that was recently awarded a federal grant under the U.S. Department of Education’s Supporting Effective Educator Development, or SEED, grant program. The legacy project is designed to provide professional development for middle and high school teachers in civics and government focusing on the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.
Thomas S. Vontz, professor and director of the Center for Social Studies at K-State and “We the People” state co-coordinator, believes highly effective civics and government teachers are the key to inspiring the next generation of Americans.
“In order to help students become effective and engaged members of ‘We the People’ and further the goal of a nation that is supposed to be of, by, and for the people, it is critical that teachers have access to the people, strategies and resources that will help them bring the subject to life each and every day for their students.”
For more information, contact Vontz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (785) 532.5927.
Registration is now open for the third annual professional development seminar, iCamp.
iPad iCamp is a daylong immersive workshop designed for educators looking to deepen their understanding of how students create, connect, share and collaborate with iPads. It will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30p.m. Friday, Jan. 15 at the Alumni Center. The cost is $50 and includes lunch.
Cyndi Danner-Kuhn leads the initiative, and guests Wes and Shelly Fryer will guide educators in the use of a variety of media projects.
“Everything we work on – writing interactively, creating narrated projects, conducting short radio interviews, editing videos, and creating eBooks – will be immediately applicable in your classroom,” Danner-Kuhn said. “You will leave the workshop inspired and equipped to take your classroom to a whole new level.”
The College of Education’s Office of Innovation and Inspiration found an innovative way to thank area teachers for their military service by surprising them with an Education Salute award during class.
The teachers who received the awards on Sept. 30 were Manhattan High School’s Ed Chandler, David Jordan, Pat McKinney and Eunice Rivera. Tonnie Martinez, assistant professor and coordinator of the Office of Innovation and Inspiration, developed the ongoing program as a means to demonstrate the wealth of knowledge many teachers bring to the classroom.
Martinez invited two officers from the Big Red One to help present the awards. They were First Lt. Anthony Magallanes and First Lt. Jessica Deason.
“A lot of the students in the classes looked like they had no idea that their teachers even served,” Deason said.
According to Martinez, that was exactly the point.
“Teachers bring an amazing amount of talent and experience to the classroom, but they rarely talk about themselves because they are so humble,” Martinez said. “It was so great to see the expressions on the students’ faces because they truly had no idea the types of missions their teachers had been on. Many of those students will look at their teachers in a whole new light.”
Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, announced the creation of the Office of Innovation & Collaboration, a comprehensive effort to draw on the faculty’s expertise and experience to help solve some of the most challenging issues in the profession.
The office was officially established this summer and its first program, Ed Cats, was launched this month. Tonnie Martinez, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, was named program coordinator.
Ed Cats offers support for early-career teachers by providing access to free resources that include an electronic newsletter, a blog, and networking through social media. The resources were developed after the college held focus groups developed to address teacher retention and ultimately, student success.
“Our goal is to provide graduates with a toolbox that goes with them into their first job and we stay connected to them, available to them throughout their early career, which we have defined as the first three years,” Martinez said. “We’re building post-graduation relationships, and look at the benefits. It benefits students. It benefits school buildings. It benefits districts. It benefits communities,” Martinez said. “This adds value to our graduates’ degrees.”
To learn more about Ed Cats, please watch this video, friend us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @WeAreEdCats or visit coe.k-state.edu/edcats.
Keeping true to its heritage of diversity and inclusion, the College of Education and the Midwest Equity Assistance Center, or MEAC, will launch a universitywide and communitywide initiative to bring light to many of the defining social issues of our time.
“Not Just a Year of Social Justice Education” is the brainchild of Linda P. Thurston, College of Education associate dean of research and graduate studies and Lydia E. Skeen chair. The effort brings together researchers, subject matter experts, clergy, authors, community members and student organizations to weigh in on some of this generation’s most pressing social issues. The activities supplement the college’s Social Justice Education graduate certificate program.
“So many organizations across campus and in the community are doing great work in their areas,” Thurston said. “What we have the opportunity to do here is to highlight many of these efforts together in one focused series of activities throughout a whole year.”
“Not Just a Year of Social Justice Education” kicks off with a video and will offer monthly activities throughout the academic year to support a predetermined theme. Remember educators: MEAC’s resources (books, movies, journals and more) are available free! For more information, contact Ronna Olivier at email@example.com or by calling (785) 532-6408.
Five decades, seven deans, thousands of teachers and countless students have been touched by excellence in action at the K-State College of Education.
From humble beginnings – two of the first seven graduates from Kansas State Agricultural College became educators to today’s distinction of being the largest teacher preparation program in Kansas – the college continues to forge new paths and develop relevant programming.
“I invite all friends, faculty, alumni and students to celebrate this milestone with us,” Mercer said. “Join us at Cat Town, join us for speakers and events on campus, or access our resources. We want to connect with you in any way we can during this very special year.”
“Connections” magazine will be published later this fall and promises to offer a fascinating look at college – both then and now.
The school year is here, and it’s a great time to remind educators of the resources available through the College of Education.
The Midwest Equity Assistance Center, or MEAC, has a complete library filled with books and DVDs that are available free to educators in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. For a complete list of the organization’s resources and services, visit http://meac.org.
The college produced several documentaries that are exceptional educational tools. The series “A Walk in My Shoes” offers in-depth looks at the lives of international graduate students, military life, and first-generation college students. Other films include the regional Emmy-nominated “A Long Road: 150 years of African-American Experiences at K-State,” and “Humanity Looks Good on Everyone.” A film about the Underground Railroad in Kansas will be released in the spring of 2016. All films can be found on the college’s YouTube channel.
Lisa Comer, English as a second language director at Syracuse High School in Syracuse, Kansas, said “A Long Road” was a powerful teaching resource as it promoted discussion, empathy and family pride.
“The students actually enjoyed discussing these more difficult topics because they were able to relate their own experiences they might not have been ordinarily invited to discuss openly in a school setting,” Comer said. “It allowed them to lower their affective filters and feel more comfortable in talking about real issues in their lives and what they are seeing in the news and world around them.”
Can something good really come from the loss of a cherished daughter? For one couple – and about 200 teachers and counting – the answer is “yes.”
Philanthropists Bill and Marilyn Taylor, Olathe, Kansas, created scholarships that have provided nearly 200 preservice teachers with a study abroad experience after their daughter, Megan, was killed. She was struck by a vehicle while riding a bicycle on a high school band trip in Germany.
In 2002, the Taylors created the Megan E. Taylor Memorial Scholarship for Study Abroad and they have inspired future educators with their generosity and grace. The college recently produced a video about this amazing couple where they share their story and commitment to “paying it forward.”
“In Germany, when she passed away we were there for an additional four days and staying with the family, actually, that she was with and somewhere during that time, we decided that we had to make something good come out of this,” said Bill Taylor. “And so we came back and started to think about scholarships, and we just really felt like study abroad was an ‘extra’ and the term that we use and others use is ‘life changing.’”
Thank you, Taylors, for sharing Megan with your K-State family and for being the embodiment of “paying it forward.”