Finalists for the 1998 Kansas Teacher of the Year Award visit the classroom of a Sunflower School educator.
Sunflower School fifth-grade teacher Sherry Nelson got a chance to sing the praises of her co-workers and talk about her school Monday when seven special guests paid a visit.
The visitors were the regional finalists for the 1998 Kansas Teacher of the Year Award, presented last fall. Nelson was one of the finalists.
"It's really exciting to have them here," Nelson said. "Last night we talked about the philosophies of education, the rewards and some of the frustrations. As teachers we're all so busy teaching that we honestly don't have the time to talk about things like that, so it was neat to get ideas."
The teachers are visiting each others' workplaces to learn more about individual attributes of schools throughout the state.
Cindy Schaker, a seventh-grade social studies and math teacher in Towanda, said the exchange of ideas has helped her generate new plans for her classroom.
"I'm always looking for ideas," she said.
Schaker said the group has put together a list of universal needs for students at all levels.
"One of the key words is `intervention,'" she said. "Whether that is getting to students in kindergarten or preschool programs or at the junior high or high school level. We want students to have success at whatever level, but also to face challenges."
The eight teachers, including Carol Strickland, the Emporia teacher who was named the 1998 Kansas Teacher of the Year, have more than 223 years of teaching experience among them.
"There's a camaraderie and inspiration you get from educators who are enthusiastic and dedicated," said Shirley Stein, a Ulysses fifth-grade teacher.
The team will head to Stein's school for a look inside her classroom next month.
"It's an opportunity to share information about our educational system with other teachers across the state," she said. "We get to see their approach to education and be aware of the various programs they've instituted."
Sunflower School Principal Janet Broers welcomed the group and talked about programs unique to the school and other Lawrence public schools.
"It's exciting to see a group of teachers who are among the most outstanding in the state," she said.
The Lawrence stop was the second on the teachers' itinerary. They spent Monday morning at Shawnee Mission South High School in Overland Park.
--JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.