Eleven Olathe teachers set to receive master’s degree in history

Fri, 05/16/2014

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David Martin
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LAWRENCE — For the past four year years, Olathe Public Schools and University of Kansas Department of History have partnered in a $814,000 U.S. Department of Education Teaching American History grant.

The program, titled Connecting Learning and Instruction in Olathe (CLIO): We the People  – In Search of a More Perfect Union, comes to a successful completion this spring when 11 Olathe teachers receive their master’s degrees in history. 

The degree recipients are Thea Britton, Karen Davis, Kathy Falen, Andrew Fine, Holly Laflen, Kathryn Leo, Melissa Lunney, Kim McKissick, Anthony Ruiz, Mathew Stephenson and Jennifer Yoksh. They completed major research projects on American history topics that ranged from the Salem Witchcraft Trials to the origins of American Indian Casinos in Kansas.

Nine other teachers participated in the program for continuing education hours. 

Maureen Donegan, social studies coordinator for Olathe, teamed with KU Professors Paul Kelton and Kim Warren to direct the program, which included fall and spring semester colloquia in Olathe and summer onsite learning seminars at such places as the Native American Rights Fund in Boulder, Colo.; the Freedom Trail in Boston; and Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.

“The CLIO Program has had an amazing impact on the teaching of American history in Olathe,” Professor Kelton said.  “I am tremendously proud of the teachers for all of the hard work and dedication that they put into improving their skills as historians.  Their students are the most important beneficiaries of this wonderful program.” 

Kathryn Leo, who will graduate with honors, lauded the program as an opportunity of a lifetime.

“We have had the benefit of learning from outstanding professors,” she said. “Because of the trips we’ve taken, books we’ve read, and the fascinating classroom lectures and discussions, we are better students, teachers, writers and historians.” 



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