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Shared stories and thoughts

Jeremy Gibson – NEA-Topeka
As our community evolves, our workforce's impact on economic development also evolves.  In our district, the partnerships between our businesses, our communities, and our schools has not just cultivated meaningful change within the our targeted signature programs, but has been a catalyst for meaningful dialogue within all schools. The work is tough, but necessary to keep our community, our businesses, and our schools alive and relevant.

Laurie Denk – Smoky Valley EA
Smoky Valley USD 400 uses Vision_Tek to bridge not only community development and support, but also to further CTE skills in its students.  Vision_Tek, the technology initiative housed on downtown Main Street in Lindsborg, facilitates not only the Smoky Valley Virtual Charter School but the Vision_Tek program itself.  Vision_Tek bridges community services and needs through course offerings for the public, one-on-one technology support, and technology service through its Apple Authorized Service center.  Vision_Tek also serves as a technology "hub" where communication and technology are merged.  Bethany College, the City of Lindsborg, and local businesses receive technology support and development:  for example, Vision_Tek provides all IT support for the City of Lindsborg, provides training for the city's iPad use in courses and instruction, a Skype environment for candidate interview sessions for Bethany College, courses for Bethany students, support for pay-on-site development for the community and more.  The educational side of the Vision_Tek program is developed through an original curriculum focused upon a project-based curriculum using Twenty-first Century skills.  Students become savvy in networking, film development, social media, CMS web building, code writing, Apple Certification, and college credit through articulation agreements and more.  The program continues through a leadership bond with community leaders (such as the Lindsborg Chamber of Commerce), educational leaders (such as the Vision_Tek leadership team), and the Vision_Tek Student Board (a team of six students)---all, who continue to plan for the direction of the Vision_Tek programs.  From continued educator inservice to Bethany Home (our local rest home) instruction, Vision_Tek continues to facilitate education for all members of the Smoky Valley community.  We invite you to visit us either physically or virtually (stop by our social networking promotion sites).  We host a Vision_Tek Digi-Con production in April as well where student work is showcased in an exciting environment.  Vision_Tek truly is a portal to the future!

Krista Waters - Great Bend, KS
My school (Great Bend High School), has a program called work study. It helps kids with special ed issues and those without special ed issues learn working skills. We learn how to do an interview, how to do the jobs in the community, and get volunteer hours. When we reach senior year we have chance to get a grant with it. The community likes the help with their businesses. My favorite place we go is the Cherry Village nursing home. My school is a great start to good business.

Donna Sunderson - Olathe, KS
I was watching the news last night and saw a report that Lenexa was named one of the best places in the nation to raise a family, the first criteria for the rating is education. The woman that was interviewed said that she wasn't surprised because they have great schools and went on to list other things about why Lenexa was a great place to live. Isn't it interesting that she named schools first?

Twenty years ago we moved to Kansas, specifically in Johnson County because of the quality education that was provided for our three daughters. Moving from California, we felt that the education was better and the willingness for both tax payers and the government in Kansas put education as a priority.  We had not seen so much support for education in the years that we had our daughters in school in California. In recent years I have become so disheartened to see the turn of events here in Kansas. Quality education is an asset for business, studies show that businesses will move into areas where education is a priority ahead of many other reasons that businesses move into an area.  Those that don't know that, have their own agenda.


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