KSDE Weekly

Upcoming Events, Trainings and Recognition

EdCamp draws 100 teachers from Kansas, Nebraska

EdCamp draws 100 teachers from Kansas, Nebraska

Devin Garcia and L A Adams may have been the only two people from outside of Kansas to attend this year’s EdCamp Kansas event earlier this week, but that didn’t deter them from soaking up everything they could learn from the dozens of other educators in attendance.

The 2023 EdCamp Kansas event on Wednesday, July 26, at Wichita Southeast High School was the first time “campers” met in person since 2019, said Dyane Smokorowski, one of the event organizers.

Smokoroswki attended one of the first EdCamp Kansas events in 2013 at Wichita State University. In 2014, she hosted one in Andover.

From there, EdCamp Kansas events began popping up all over the state – Hays, Topeka, Wamego, Dodge City, Frontenac.

The purpose of EdCamp Kansas is to “revolutionize professional development for educators by providing an open, participant-driven platform where teachers can connect, collaborate and grow together.” The mission is to empower educators to take ownership of their professional learning, share their expertise and ignite positive change in their classrooms and communities, according to the organization’s website, https://edcampks.weebly.com/.

Teacher participants suggest topics, lead discussions and share best practices, creating a vibrant community of practice.

Tuesday’s event started at 8 a.m. with breakfast and suggestion topics for the day. It also included networking, a session on AI in education, “hallway chats,” a question-and-answer session with Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson and more.

EdCamp Kansas events are free, and no vendors are allowed on site, Smokorowski said. While the events are called EdCamp Kansas, it’s not unusual to see educators from across the United States, Smokorowski said.

EdCamp Kansas events have attracted teachers from Minnesota, Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

Garcia has been teaching in Nebraska for 11 years. He teaches 7-12th grade science.

Adams is a substitute teacher working toward obtaining his teaching license.

“I’ve subbed for nine years,” Adams said.

He also worked for one year as a paraprofessional near Chanute, Kansas. However, he wanted to become a teacher but was struggling with trying to pass the Praxis exam. After Nebraska became one of 34 states to not require a skills test for teachers, Adams decided to pursue his teaching license again. He is on track to begin his teaching career in the fall of 2024 after student teaching.

Being a paraprofessional has given Adams good experience and a different perspective, he said.

“I see things differently than a teacher,” he said. “I see all of the things that work and all of the things that don’t.”

And now he can implement the best things he’s witnessed into his own classroom, he said.

When asked what qualities make a good teacher, Garcia and Adams at the same time:

“Passion,” Garcia said.

“Compassion,” Adams said.

They looked at each other and then answered together, “Both.”

Garcia, who met Smokorowski on a teacher field trip, saw the information about the EdCamp Kansas event via Facebook and decided to make the three-hour trek from Nebraska to Wichita to attend.

“It’s been a great conference, so far,” Garcia said during his lunch break.

For more information about EdCamp Kansas, visit https://edcampks.weebly.com/.

Posted: Jul 27, 2023,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush

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