Education tour comes to Topeka, officials search how to improve student learning

Local News

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Education leaders on a 50 stop tour visited the Capital City on Wednesday. The goal of the trip is to find the best ways to teach Kansas kids.

Officials visited the Topeka Public Schools district during the day and Seaman Public Schools Wednesday night. The tour will wrap up at Shawnee Heights on Thursday night. You can see a list of the final stops here.

State leaders ask educators and members of the public if the direction the state is going is the right one, and how it could be improved.

Six years ago the state made a drastic change in order to improve teaching. It emphasized a greater focus on individualized goals, real-life problems, and social-emotional learning.

State Education Commissioner Randy Watson is part of the group touring the state hearing how Kansas should adapt to better serve students.

“This tour is to say, are we on the right track, and if we are should we intensify that, should we alter it a little bit, or should we take a detour, and so that’s the feedback that we’re getting in 50 cities across Kansas,” Watson said.

Watson said he’s hearing a variety of topics on the tour including there being a need to increase focus on early childhood learning, as well as what type of skills students should leave school with.

“This changing economy in Kansas and across the United States demands these skillsets even greater than we saw in [2015], and it’s going to probably involve some information technology and so how do we combine those skills,” Watson said.

In Topeka, attendees were asked what ways they would address issues.

“Kansas is so lucky that we have so many social workers and school counselors, but we could also have more. Kids are coming to school with more trauma, more with social-emotional difficulties,” said Mallory Jacobs, a counselor at Whitson Elementary School. “I think also less standardized testing and more hands-on, what would make a good citizen to be ready to go right outside of graduation.”

Others said there should be a greater focus on how students perform in the long term.

“Revisiting and also measuring success even after students graduate, how are they doing because I think the impact does not really stop when they’re with us, it’s also when they leave us,” said Cherryl Delacruz, a math teacher at College Prep School in Topeka.

The input will go in front of the state board of education in late winter to help form its future goals.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories