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2-16-24 — Future Educator Gains Meaningful Skills in Middle School

Feb. 16, 2024 ~ In this edition of #OPSMyFuture, we sat down with Ainsley Spence, an eighth grader at Chisholm Trail Middle School. Spence was accepted into the Future Educators Academy at Olathe East High School. At Chisholm Trail, she found a passion for teaching through her United Connections class. The class is designed for general education students to coincide with students with special needs in an open learning environment and lend a helping hand.

Ainsley stands in front of her middle school“We spend our time being a friend for them,” Spence said. “We’re growing our relationships with them, helping them out with things and letting them be around all kids. It’s just a good experience for everyone.”

Lindsay Sutter and Jamie Totte-Boyd teach the class. Every day has a different agenda. On Mondays, students learn about life skills. Tuesday are experimental days where students can do some hands-on work. On Thursdays, students practice their speech through different activities. Fridays are for physical education and other activities.

“These friends always find a way to make me laugh if I’m having a bad day,” Spence said. “Every time they smile, it makes me smile.”

At Chisholm Trail, Spence is a part of the jazz band and a member of the Science Olympiad. She enjoys school, with jazz band and her United Connections class being her favorite parts of the day. Outside of school, she is an active member of her church’s youth group and enjoys playing basketball in her free time.

Next year, Spence will attend Olathe East High School and be a part of the Future Educators Academy. She is excited about getting involved in the program right away.

“I’ve done some work with FEA in the past,” Spence said. “I know they’re very good about getting the younger classes involved and making sure everyone’s working together on the same page.”

When it comes to finding her passion for teaching, Spence credits her time spent in school and the time she spent with special education students at Chisholm Trail. She wants to teach social studies or maybe at the elementary school level first when she becomes an educator.

“I really like helping people and seeing growth is really cool to me,” Spence said. “To be able to say, ‘You were there and then got here,’ I just really like helping people on that journey.”