Just weeks after the 2016-2017 school year began, Kansas Career Specialists from across the state convened for Project Based Learning training. The theme, “Celebrate good times..come on!” was incorporated to get Specialists excited about implementing PBL in the classroom.
The facilitator of the training was Nichole Childers, a multi-year Specialist at Wichita North High School in Wichita. Childers, who attended the PBL training hosted by the BIE Institute at this year’s National Training Seminar, was so inspired by her experience she went back to Kansas to create and plan the 2-day training with the needs of the Specialist in mind.
“The goal was to bring everyone together so they could learn about PBL and get the tools needed to go back to their programs and be successful, to turn our students into innovators,” Childers explained.
Rachel Hand, a middle school Specialist from KC Turner Middle School in Kansas City, also attended the PBL training at NTS. Hand helped facilitate the middle school portion of the training.
During the training, Specialists learned about the “Gold Standard” of teaching and the PBL standards. Specialists also created their own projects using the eight essential project pieces and participated in a “gallery walk” that featured everyone’s project ideas. Feedback from the training exceeded expectations, with Specialists feeling more prepared to incorporate PBL into their classrooms this year.
“JAG-Kansas (JAG-K) is excited about fully implementing PBL in our 62 programs throughout the state,” said JAG-K President and CEO Chuck Knapp. “Niki did a fabulous job putting the Kansas training together, and we could not be more pleased that so many JAG-K students will benefit.”
The highlight of the first day of training was the arrival of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. Governor Brownback, who brought the JAG program to Kansas and sits on the national board of directors, made a special unannounced visit to the training session. He engaged with the specialists and talked about his unwavering support of JAG-K.
“Jobs for America’s Graduates is an innovative and proven program,” stated Brownback.
Following a few words of appreciation and encouragement, the Governor had lunch with the specialists and had an opportunity to visit with individual Specialists about the impact they have on students and the successes of the JAG-K program. In addition to the Governor, two JAG-K Board of Directors members were in attendance. The JAG-K team was appreciative of the support shown to them and the organization.
In its fourth year, JAG-K has received the state “5 of 5” award for both years of eligibility. Knapp, who started his job August 1, 2016, said he is excited about the Jobs for America’s Graduates program and mission. He credited his Kansas team and the national organization for establishing an environment of continuous improvement.
“We have a fantastic new vice president of program development in Bev Mortimer, outstanding Specialists like Nichole and Rachel, a board that is committed to long-term success and strong partnerships in schools throughout the state. Project Based Learning training is one of the many exciting things happening with JAG-K. We appreciate the support of our friends throughout the Jobs for America’s Graduates organization and look forward to more collaboration to ensure the future success of Kansas students, the JAG-K program and the state of Kansas,” Knapp concluded.