As part of the national American Graduate initiative, KCPT is highlighting several community leaders and educators who are making significant, scalable changes to prepare students for success in K-12 and beyond. These stories of local education champions will air on KCPT in the weeks leading up to American Graduate Day on October 3, a live, multi-platform broadcast on public media stations across the country dedicated to the topic of the dropout crisis.
This year’s champions are Lynn Rundle, co-founder of Lead to Read; Winnie Ayers, physical education teacher and coach at Sumner Academy; and Joyce Mccawley, a computer teacher at Longfellow Elementary.
In 2011 Lynn Rundle and his wife Jean recruited some friends to read with a class of fourth grade students for 30 minutes each week. Realizing how a caring, consistent adult made a big difference in students’ reading ability and attitudes towards reading, the Rundles decided to create Lead to Read. The program makes it easy for working adults to mentor students during their lunch hour. This past year Lead to Read placed 300 volunteers in local first and second grade classrooms. Check out a longer feature piece on Lead to Read here.
Winnie Ayers has been teaching physical education and coaching in Kansas City, Kansas for 45 years. For many of those years, Ayers spent her summer months at the Linwood YMCA where she taught children from low-income families how to swim. Ayers contribution to community was brought to our attention by Bryan and Nicole Williams, who knew Ayers from spending time at the YMCA as children. “Even though my family couldn’t afford to pay for swim lessons, Winnie ensured that our financial situation didn’t become a barrier for us learning how to swim,” Bryan Williams wrote in his nomination of Ayers. “I, along with thousands of other urban youth learned how to swim under Winnie’s leadership.”Check out a longer feature piece on Ayers and her commitment to children here.
As part of this year’s Stories of Champions initiative, producing stations were asked to find an educator or community leader, who has been positively impacted by Public Media. Joyce Mccawley has been teaching in Kansas City for 28 years. Much of that time has been devoted to introducing students in the Kansas City Public School district to computers and changing technology. Mccawley uses PBS Learning Media and pbskids.org to both meet students wherever they are developmentally and help them become confident problem solvers.
Watch American Graduate Day on October 3, 2015 from 10am to 5pm on KCPT and learn how community leaders, and educators and youth are working to keep kids on the path to graduation.