K-State awards $5K to 8 teachers for educational service projects

Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 8:03 AM CDT
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - Eight teachers around the State of Kansas have been awarded $5,000 each to improve fun and important educational service projects.

Kansas State University says that eight of its College of Education alumni from across the state have been awarded a $5,000 community service stipend from its inaugural Today’s Teacher program to recognize their outstanding and impactful educational initiatives outside the classroom.

K-State noted that all of the awardees were also Tomorrow’s Teacher Scholarship Program recipients as undergraduate students. This is one of the college’s most prestigious scholarship programs and was created and funded by longtime philanthropists Lee and Barb Harris. It said only eight of the teachers’ submissions were chosen from across the state.

The University indicated that recipients include:

  • Meredith Reid, vocal teacher at Girard High School and Middle School;
  • Katelyn Meiwes, virtual high school teacher at Humboldt High School;
  • Jancy Davis, a math teacher at Manhattan Senior High School;
  • Victoria Lynch, instructional coach at John Diemer Elementary School, Overland Park, in the Shawnee Mission School District;
  • Kinsey Volk, elementary music teacher at Bickerdyke Elementary School in Russell;
  • Leah Ward, a second-grade teacher at Ray Marsh Elementary School, Shawnee, in the Shawnee Mission School District;
  • Angela Johnson, a seventh-grade math teacher at Spring Hill Middle School;
  • Jada Stringfield, kindergarten and first-grade special education teacher at Seltzer Elementary School in Wichita.

Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, said the funds will help the teachers expand their community involvement in new and exciting ways. She said the program is not only impactful but also enhances the school’s teacher preparation program by providing meaningful examples of community engagement.

“This was a highly competitive process,” Mercer said. “These communities are being served by educators who stood out as scholars and now are shining stars in the profession.”

K-State indicated that Reid, a choir teacher, serves as the Southeast Kansas Music Educators Association District High School Choir chair and will use the funds to bring music education to rural areas of the Sunflower State. As a part of her activities in this role, it said she will secure an accompanist and clinician for a day of learning and singing that will end with a concert for families, friends and community members.

As a virtual educator, the University said that Meiwes works to meet her students - who are teens and adults - wherever they are, literally and figuratively. She has developed guided early childhood activities for students who bring their children with them to school meetings and has developed guided educational activities that the parents and children can do together at home. It said a majority of her students complete their high school degrees online due to a number of life situations.

K-State also noted that Davis, a nationally certified math teacher, has developed after-hours math tutoring and assistance for students in both face-to-face and online formats. She has also offered international travel opportunities for high school students during the summer and plans to include pre-service teachers from the college. It said their involvement is meant to provide future teachers with a hands-on opportunity to plan and navigate the complexities of coordinating overseas travel.

The University said Volk plans to serenade Russell residents with the Bickerdyke Bunch - a group of elementary singers and musicians. It said the after-school choir will perform at sites such as local nursing homes and play local concerts with ukeleles.

K-State indicated that Lynch’s project revolves around the reimagination of Chat and Chew - a PTA-sponsored reading enhancement program for students in second through sixth grades. Passionate about social justice, it said Lynch intends to ensure all students can participate with books she plans to give to students. Once they have read them, Lynch has trained parent volunteers to lead quarterly book discussions meant to instill a love of reading.

K-State noted that Johnson plans to initiate Mindful Mavericks - a school club focused on positive mental health practices and learning about community resources. The group’s monthly meetings will involve learning activities, a food drive and visits from community partners.

Lastly, the University said Stringfield plans to share her expertise through the creation of professional learning opportunities for other educators. Through the creation of sustainable support systems for private schools, it said Stringfield will help ensure all students benefit as she shares strategies to support each learner’s needs.