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  • Last modified 59 days ago (July 18, 2019)

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Student learning advocates share experiences

Staff writer

Three Centre Elementary School teachers are among 12 student learning advocates who work in the Kansas Online Learning Program.

They communicate with parents through email and texting, and they monitor students’ progress to make sure they complete the work.

Gail Lorson of Hope has been an SLA for more than five years. She had 50 students last year, but her caseload varies from year to year.

She connects with students and parents during breaks, lunch, and after school. She makes phone calls after school and in the evening.

Parent-teacher conferences are twice a year.

“Some students need guidance weekly to stay on pace and understand classes,” Lorson said. “Others are much more independent.”

Her reward is seeing her students graduate.

Lorson related a story about a freshman she was monitoring four years ago. She struggled to complete her classes and had to work into the summer to finish. By her graduation, she was one of Lorson’s star students.

“She was always working at least one job,” Lorson said. “She finished classes early and had great grades. What a turnaround. Now she is looking at college classes. When my students graduate, I am always so proud.”

Amy Carlson of Marion teaches third grade at Centre. She is in her third year as an SLA for elementary students, and mentors five or six students a year.

She said she has met some of them at orientation. Others, she never does meet.

“I enjoy being able to help the kids succeed in an atmosphere that they feel comfortable in,” she said. “I have worked with a couple of students who have had negative experiences in public schools, and that is why they’ve turned to learning virtually.”

Megan Stuchlik of rural Lost Springs works with kindergarten through fifth-grade students. Most of her communication is with parents.

“I enjoy SLA work,” she said. “It’s a lot of work at different points in the year, but I’ve met some great families.

“I like how you become close to families, so much so, that they will send pictures when there are new babies or different accomplishments going on in their family.”

Last modified July 18, 2019

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