TOPEKA — The Kansas State Department of Education’s (KSDE) Professionals Standards Board on Tuesday, May 9, unveiled a new campaign encouraging students and career changers to become teachers.
May 9 is National Teacher Appreciation Day and falls during National Teacher Appreciation Week.
Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson announced the launch of the new website, EducateKansas.org, and its corresponding yearlong social media campaign, Be a Force for Good.
The concept was developed after discussions about teacher recruitment and retention in KSDE’s Professional Standards Board meetings.
The Professional Standards Board is comprised of 21 people, including those from public and private schools, a college university, a parent-teacher association and a local board of education. The responsibility of the board is to develop and recommend rules and regulations for professional standards governing teaching and school administrator preparation and admission to and continuance in the profession of teaching and school administration.
Watson, education officials, College of Education deans, teachers and administrators across Kansas will promote the profession by sharing their stories and passion.
The website contains detailed information for college-age students and career changers about the current pathways to licensure in Kansas. The corresponding social media campaign features a two-minute, superhero-themed video with a young girl wearing a cape who extols reasons for becoming a teacher. Current teachers and administrators will be featured throughout the campaign.
“The staff at the Kansas State Department of Education and I frequently hear from people who are interested in becoming teachers but they just aren’t sure how to get started,” Watson said in a video released today. “So, we’ve developed a one-stop shop website that details the many pathways to the profession.”
Debbie Mercer, KSDE Professional Standards Board chair and dean of the Kansas State University’s College of Education, said teacher preparation programs face many of the same issues so it became apparent that collaboration was the most powerful approach.
“Educators understand the power of unity and inclusion, and it says a great deal about the type of leaders we have in Kansas that they would come together to advance the profession,” Mercer said. “Whether a university is public or private, big or small, at the end of the day, educators stand together in our commitment of preparing highly qualified teachers for classrooms in the 21st Century.”
Watson hopes the campaign goes beyond educators and future teachers and also attracts the attention of parents, school board members and business leaders.
“Teaching is one of the greatest professions in the world – I truly believe that,” Watson said. “Our hope is that people outside of the profession begin to see it the way we see it, and it sows the seeds for the next generation of teachers along with a greater understanding and appreciation for what teachers do for our schools and communities.”
To follow the campaign, please follow KSDE on Facebook and on Twitter @ksdehq. The hashtag for this campaign is #Force4GoodKS.
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