SMSD News: Teacher Appreciation Week

This week marked Teacher Appreciation Week across the country and in Shawnee Mission.

It is no secret that we have faced tremendous challenges this year, but we have shown our greatest strength in how we have persevered to do what is best for students. It’s been a joy this week to see the numerous pictures, works of art, social media posts, and expressions of gratitude our community has shared to thank our Shawnee Mission educators. We join our extended community in thanking and commending our teachers for all of the ways they have dedicated themselves to helping each student achieve their personal best.

The classroom experience looks different right now. We especially want to thank all educators who have stepped out of their comfort zones, and found new and creative ways to ensure learning continues. Their dedication and hard work support our community objective to ensure every student has a personalized learning plan that supports them in being college and career ready and having the interpersonal skills important to life success.

Recently, we engaged parents, students, and staff in a Thoughtexchange to provide feedback about the Continuous Learning experience. One of the top themes that emerged from our community was the importance of personal connections with teachers. It is clear how meaningful classroom meetings and points of contact have been to our students and families.

I want to express my gratitude for the hard work our teachers do to build and maintain relationships with students.

Regrettably, two events scheduled specifically to honor our teachers this time of year haven’t been able to take place in person. Nevertheless, we want to acknowledge in particular two groups of outstanding educators. One group is our Kansas Teacher of the Year (KTOY) nominees. Each school had the opportunity this year to nominate a teacher for the KTOY program. While a districtwide ceremony to honor KTOY nominees cannot take place, we share the names of all honorees selected by their school communities here.

We also want to express our appreciation for our retirees and service pin recipients. Though we cannot honor them in person this Spring, we especially wish our retirees a happy and healthy future as they begin a new chapter. We can’t begin to calculate the thousands of students whose lives have been changed for the better because of them, and we and the entire Shawnee Mission community offer them our thanks and appreciation.

Dr. Mike Fulton