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KSD Teachers Start 2nd Semester as Students

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‘Ed Camp’ includes 20 professional development sessions for staff

Kearney, Mo., January 6, 2023: Team KSD has demonstrated once again that great teachers are also great learners.

Kearney School District’s instructional staff and other educators became students and went back to class during a half-day of “Ed Camp” professional development (PD) on Tuesday morning, Jan. 3 at Kearney High School.

The PD sessions were part of KSD’s commitment to ensuring that all staff members get the ongoing training and career coaching needed in order to provide outstanding educational experiences every class day for each student. This is spelled out as a top objective in the district’s new 2022-2027 Strategic Plan that was approved last month by the Board of Education.

Hundreds of teachers and school leaders showed up at the high school excited to see each other and ready to sharpen their skills after taking the previous two weeks off for the district’s Winter Break.

“We know it’s very important to provide this type of high-quality professional development on a regular basis for our team,” Superintendent Emily Miller said. “I love seeing everyone fired up to do the hard, continual work of getting better on behalf of our students. What you’re seeing is their real dedication and caring as educators.”

This year’s Ed Camp was organized and hosted by KSD’s Department of Academic Services, which is led by Assistant Superintendent for Academic Services Jennifer Kopp. She gave full credit to Elementary Curriculum Coordinator Ali Stewart and Administrative Assistant Penni Frick for the many hours they devoted to planning and managing the event.

“It takes an incredible amount of work to first assess the needs of every staff member and then organize all of the details necessary to provide this professional development,” Ms. Kopp said. “Ali and Penni truly went above and beyond this year and the result is a great experience for our team!”

The camp included 20 different PD options led during six periods from 8 a.m. to 12:55 p.m. in classrooms across the high school. The sessions covered a comprehensive array of topics designed to meet the needs of every teacher. Among many other things, these included classes about:

  • Using gamification in lesson plans
  • Hands-on conceptual learning of math
  • Using the educational platforms Padlet and Thinglink
  • Pre- and post-reading activities
  • Cool and relevant Google extensions

In addition to more traditional classroom tools and techniques, the camp also included classes designed to help meet the social, emotional, mental and physical health and wellness needs of students. Those included sessions on supporting gifted students, providing guidance for earning a Seal of Biliteracy, special education services, coping strategies and “Stop the Bleed” emergency medical response training.

Kearney Junior High science teacher David Miller was grateful for the opportunity to focus on his classroom skills in the lead-up to the return of students the following day. He praised the content in the sessions he attended and said he left the camp eager to apply what he’d learned.

“The PD on Tuesday was a great way to get back into the swing of things to finish out the year and start the new semester,” Mr. Miller said. “The workshop from RPDC provided a helpful way to approach math equations in my classroom. I know my students are going to get a lot out of this.”

In addition to the PD sessions, KSD staff members also had a chance to enjoy lunch together from a fleet of food trucks lined up in front of the high school’s main entrance, another detail overseen by Ms. Stewart and Ms. Frick. The camp ended with staff enjoying a one-hour routine by Kansas City-area comedian Rayne Ethetton in the KHS auditorium.

“The food trucks were a nice way to have a nice lunch with our colleagues,” Mr. Miller said. “All in all, it was a really amazing morning for our entire team.”

KSD is currently seeking community nominations through Jan. 13 for its 2023 Excellence in Education Awards, which includes recognitions for the year’s top teachers and support staff at each school. Learn more at

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