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Alumni Speak About 
CAPS Teacher Education
Ashley Borker
2010 Graduate, CAPS Teacher Education

Currently I am an elementary education major at Emporia State University and I wouldn't be here if it weren't for Ms. Fry and the CAPS program. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher but throughout my time in CAPS I learned just what it meant to be a teacher. I go to the number 4 school in the U.S. for education and I see people making the decision every day to leave the education program because they didn't know what goes into being a teacher. I would probably be right there with them if I hadn't been in CAPS. I am currently scheduled to graduate in May 2014. At that point I will have by elementary education degree and an endorsement in ESL. Thanks CAPS!
Kendra Peterson
2010 Graduate, CAPS Teacher Education

I was in the first semester of the CAPS teacher program and had a blast! I had learned so much. When attending my first education class at Drake University, where I study to be an orchestra and/or ELL teacher, I began to realize how much that pre-teacher program actually helped me. Many of my fellow education classmates were at a loss when it came to how to set up a practicum, what to do, and how to even start thinking about lesson plans. As for me, I had already learned this with Ms. Fry back in high school and was not afraid of the things I would have to do for these education courses. CAPS really helped prepare me for my field in Education and because of it, I have no doubt in my mind that I will forever be a teacher. So thanks CAPS and Ms. Fry; you have helped me more than you know and more than I can put into words!
Taylor Seurer
2011 Graduate, CAPS Teacher Education

Hello, I'm Taylor Seurer and I'm a freshman at the University of Kansas. I plan to be a middle school/high school teacher and teach English and CAPS helped me decide that, that is exactly what I want to do. Going through an intro to education class at CAPS taught me a lot about teaching and tested me to see if this was the profession I wanted to follow through on. I also took a Curriculum and Teaching class my first semester at KU and it was so much easier because of the knowledge I acquired from CAPS. Also I had a final portfolio due at the end of this last semester and because I had created one already in 2020 Instructor, it was so much easier! I hope to continue with education by getting into the School of Education at KU and I am thankful for CAPS being a part of all of this. I wouldn’t be where I am without it.

Bridget Cotter is a 2012 CAPS graduate who studied four semesters in Teacher Education. During her CAPS experience, she spent a great deal of time in a variety of elementary classrooms working on different projects and lesson plans. For example, in one rotation she worked at LKE with third grade reading groups where she interacted with the students and designed her own activities.
Also during her time at CAPS she developed some online games for learning. For example, in 4th grade one standard is students should be able to identify all 50 states on a blank map. Cotter took this idea and made an online game.
“Ms. Fry did so much with technology in her classroom, much more than we are using in my college classes so far,” said Cotter.
“I think the biggest edge CAPS gave me was the ability to present and do public speaking. Before CAPS, I was scared to death of public speaking and now I can really take command of the room when I’m presenting,” said Cotter.
Cotter is attending Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas where she is majoring in Elementary and Special Education and wants to teach kindergarten.


Ali Hancock, CAPS Teacher Education alumni and sophomore at K-State, works for Arcademic Skill Builders. Arcademics is a website for elementary aged students and has games to help them learn different things from various subject areas such as math and geography. She helps write scripts with Carolyn Wallace (another CAPS Teacher Education alumni) for videos that give students a brief overview/explanation of the problem or problems they missed while playing one of the games.

“We try to include rhymes into the videos as a trick to help kids remember, which is a great tool to use while teaching,” said Hancock.

They also record the audio for the videos and then send on to Robert Smith, CAPS Filmmaking alumni and KU sophomore, where he takes care of the rest.

Smith’s job for Arcademics is to use Adobe After Effects to create and animate videos to go along with the voice recordings that Ali and Carolyn send to him. They’ve covered subjects in math (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), as well as fractions, ratios, counting money, and state capitals.

“This has helped me improve my skills with the programs I use, both creating graphics and animating everything together. Also, having a job in my area of study/interest gives me experience that will carry over to future positions and will hopefully open more doors,” said Smith.

“Working with Arcademics has helped me so much since I’m an elementary education major. This experience makes me think about the best way to teach a concept, or even offer a few different ways to understand it,” said Hancock.


Pam Berne, a 2010 CAPS graduate, is a fifth grade teacher at Countryside Elementary School in the Olathe School District. Pam attended The Teachers College at Emporia State University, graduating in 2014. Pam’s experience in the CAPS Teacher Education strand helped her solidify her career ambitions and gave her valuable classroom exposure while still in high school. 

Pam was drawn to Emporia State because of the University’s reputation in teacher education, but unlike many of her peers entering the program, she knew what to expect because of her CAPS experiences. Emporia State recognizes the depth of the CAPS Teacher Education program, giving CAPS students advance credit for the "Introduction to Teaching" course which explores issues in education and the nature of children in the classroom


Heather Jackson is a 2012 graduate of Blue Valley West High School and the CAPS Teacher Education program. She is majoring in education at Kansas State University and will be student teaching in Jennifer Kleinmann’s kindergarten classroom at Blue Valley’s Sunset Ridge Elementary School in the fall. Heather had worked extensively in Jennifer’s classroom when she was in the Teacher Education program at CAPS so this will be a homecoming of sorts for her. Recent studies have shown that over 60% of teachers work within 20 miles of where they went to high school, so it is incumbent upon us to grow our own!

We asked Heather to reflect on her experience at CAPS and this is what she had to say:

Did your CAPS experiences help you understand what you wanted to pursue in college and where you wanted to go?

My CAPS experience was tremendous. I have known that I wanted to be a teacher for a very long time, maybe even since kindergarten. But CAPS gave me the opportunity to go into the classroom and have experience working with students. My mini-student teaching experience solidified my desire to become an educator. CAPS didn't really influence my college choice, but there were many classmates who went to Kansas State University, where I am, and I couldn't be happier on my choice of college! Kansas State has an amazing education department and they get you extremely prepared for student teaching - I can’t wait to start!

Where there things at CAPS that helped prepare you for success in college?

The environment of CAPS is extraordinary. I really appreciate the professionalism and the ability to work with mentors and people in the work force, it really prepared me and I believe it put me a step ahead of most of the people I was in class with. I was in the teacher education program in CAPS for three semesters and went to college with 360 hours in the classroom, which really set me ahead of the crowd as many of my peers hadn't had any experience in the classroom yet. I also really liked the collaboration between strands at CAPS - specifically in my last semester when I had the opportunity to work with the engineering strand generating ideas and specifying materials for them to put in the classroom they were designing for Africa. 

As you approach student teaching what aspects of the CAPS teacher Education program have you turned to?

I was a part of team looking into Deanna Rose Farmstead as a place for CAPS teacher education students to work, am really excited to see how the program is going and if they are still working with them. I look back at the professionalism and the people that we were able to meet at the District office and really hope that my CAPS experiences gives me a step up in the demand for jobs. I really want to teach in the Blue Valley District!


Courtney Hansen, a 2012 BVW graduate, attended CAPS from Fall 2010 through Spring 2012. She took full advantage of the Teacher Education program, enrolling in 2020 Instructor, 2020 Internship, Educational Technology and Gaming and Teacher Education Independent Study.Courtney continued her education at Avila University's School of Education, graduating in December 2015.
Courtney visited CAPS recently and we had the opportunity to conduct an interview. Here is What she had to say:
Did your CAPS experiences help you understand what you wanted to pursue in college and where you wanted to go? I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember, but during my first years of high school, I also looked into pursuing a degree in nursing. I joined CAPS with the plan to try both the teaching and medical strands out in hopes of deciding which path was the right one for me, but my first observations in the education strand confirmed that teaching was the right choice for me.
Were there things at CAPS that helped prepare you for success in college? The experiences and opportunities I had at CAPS confirmed teaching was the right field for me and allowed me to get a jumpstart on some of the coursework and concepts I would need to get my degree. Additionally, I learned all of those “other” skills that most people aren’t lucky enough to be directly taught, such as resume-writing, interviewing, and presenting. The networking opportunities I had in CAPS and the associated skills that I learned have opened up several different opportunities for me the past few years, such as internships and jobs.
What was your biggest take-away from your CAPS experience? The real-world experiences that CAPS provides are invaluable. I learned SO much about teaching and had opportunities to practice instructional strategies, technology integration, and even classroom management before I had even graduated high school.
Now that you have graduated from Avila, what are your immediate plans? I obtained my Missouri substitute teaching license two years ago and have gone back to subbing now that I am done with school. I also have a long-term substitute position during 4th quarter. I have filed my paperwork to be a certified elementary teacher in both Kansas and Missouri, and I have begun filling out applications and interviewing for positions next fall as well.