I love teaching eighth-grade English language arts at McPherson Middle School, and the start of this year has me positively glowing. Now that we have enjoyed several weeks of school, I wanted to provide you with an update from the view of an educator.

Over the past year, we worked to create a path for the future of education in McPherson. Thinking back on all the work and seeing it start to come to fruition is humbling. Realizing we are in year one of implementation renews my commitment to our vision of educating students to be future ready through balanced personal learning.

It is the district’s investment into my skills as a teacher that is making that possible. Through an initiative called Capturing Kids’ Hearts, we have the tools to zero in on relationship-building with students, which is transforming the classroom.

While Capturing Kids Hearts is letting me see the personal side of my students, the Summit Learning Program is allowing me to see the academic side. I can have three students struggle with the same content assessment, yet I have had three completely different conversations, personalized to the struggle of each individual mind. And we have dedicated time to mentor students and help them set goals for learning.

I have been able to infuse my content and my teaching style with the program, and I do not feel like I am losing my personality as a teacher in its implementation. The combination of academic language with social-emotional language is proving to be very powerful. My excitement has increased with my personal experiences as I plan for each week. We have an amazing eighth-grade class, and getting to know them is proving to be a wonderful experience.

Jenny Vernon

McPherson