Kansas Teachers of the Year from region one visited Great Bend USD 428 Friday to observe and gather insights and ideas to take back to their districts, said Kim Heath, an English teacher at GBHS. She and fourth grade teacher Laurie Harwood hosted the day-long tour for five other teachers from Dodge City, Liberal, Ellis and Pratt.
Starting with a breakfast with members of the USD 428 Board of Education, they then toured the Parent Teacher Resource Center before visiting Great Bend High School and hearing presentations from Stucco and FBLA reps.
Student Council president Greg Burley and vice president Nathan Brungardt presented their plan for the upcoming student-led community service day on April 24. In addition to taking part in maintenance, landscaping and clean-up projects inside and outside the school, some students will be transported to locations around the city to help with projects like cleaning up the banks of the Arkansas river, the zoo and the Kansas Wetlands Education Center. Others will wash windows and clean up on Main Street downtown and help at the Golden Belt Humane Society. Still others will help assemble service gift bags for military troops.
“We’re trying to make an impact both here in the community, as well as around the world,” Burley said.
Burley also took part in a presentation of his team’s winning website that will take them to the National FBLA competition in Anaheim, Calif. later this summer. Sara McAfee and Jami McVay also presented their winning business plan they and teammate Sarah Niederee won with at the state level. They will also be taking their plan to Anaheim.
The teachers also toured FACS classes taught by Mrs. Heeke and Mrs. Batman, and a drama class taught by Dan Heath. There, they observed students learning how to perform a stage fight.
Heath explained his students were learning to control their bodies on stage, and the concept of reverse energy.
“It’s important for them to understand and know who is controlling the energy of the scene,” he explained. “In a fight, it’s actually the victim that controls the energy--it only looks like its the person throwing the punches.”
The teachers then took a brief tour of Park Elementary School, visiting with Ginger Herman, before returning to the high school for a look at Jake Hofflinger’s technology lab and mass production products. They had lunch at the Panther Paw Restaurant with Janet Thurow and her students.
In the afternoon, they visited Eisenhower Elementary School and Great Bend Middle School where they observed how PowerTeaching is being used there to teach mathematics concepts. This is the fifth tour of its kind. Kim Heath said each of the other districts in the region had hosted a tour previously. Heath has brought back ideas about discipline and tardy bells from some of these tours.
The Kansas Teacher of the Year statewide contest is divided into four regions, and each school district can nominate a elementary and secondary educator. The regions correspond to the state’s four U. S. congressional districts. According to the Kansas State Department of Education, the purpose of the program is to build and utilize a network of exemplary teachers who are leaders in the improvement of schools, student performance, and the teaching profession.