KSPAs first winter conference: advisors stories

Story by Xavier Laymon from Wichita South High School, Lindsay Tyrell-Blake and Sophia Edmonson


Design made by Lindsay Tyrell-Blake and Photos by Sophia Edmonson. Made for multimedia.

Students and teachers from around the Wichita area gathered at WSU on Feb 15 to learn more about journalism at the new KSPA winter conference. With different experiences and teaching styles, advisors Kim Warren and Julie Barker share their ways of teaching.

Warren is an advisor at Salina South and teaches 21st-century journalism yearbook newspaper, accounting, and graphic design classes — who always tries to keep her students interested in what she is teaching.

“I think one of the reasons or one of the ways that students became engaged is through their product, whether that be a yearbook, the newspaper, or an online product so that project-based product-based assignments really engage the students more than maybe just an assignment in a class,” Warren said.

She very much enjoys teaching her classes and thinks that social media has affected her teaching.

“Oh, gosh, yes… just people being connected. Being able to access information, you know, immediately,” Warren said.

Barker is a journalism advisor from Augusta High School who also came to the conference. She agrees with Warren’s opinion on how to keep her students and staff engaged.

“As far as the publication staffs go, it’s about them, they have control. And it’s not about me just standing up there as a teacher and giving knowledge they have the control. They have the control of what they do, and there’s conversations that we have, but when it’s their product, they’re more interested in what’s going on,” Barker said.

The executive director of KSPA – Eric Thomas – was the one that set up the conference. He recruited the advisors — who brought their students.

“Well, it’s the first year we’ve done it. We’ve never done this before. So it was cool to try something for the first time. And all of [the students] are gonna have to tell us whether it was a success or not, because we thought it was, but we want to make sure it’s doing what [we] want it to do,” Thomas said.

At the end of the conference, students – and advisors –  learned new things and met new people who had similar interests as them.