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Cline sees several educational changes in 30 years PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 12 December 2017 13:04


• Leader & Times

Current Meadowlark Elementary School Assistant Principal Melinda Cline has been in the education field for more than 30 years, with several of her teaching years taking place at the former Lincoln Elementary School. And through it all, Cline said there have been many changes.  

Q: Could you give some background on yourself? (i.e. how long you’ve been with USD 480, how long you’ve been working in education, etc.)

A: I began teaching in 1985 in Oklahoma. I taught in Texhoma for a year and then taught at Yarborough for four years, I taught at two different grade levels those years. Then we moved to Liberal in 1990 or 1991 and I began working at the high school as a paraprofessional because at that time there were no openings at the elementary level, which was so unusual then since we have so many openings at that level now. So I worked there at the high school for a semester as a paraprofessional in the special education department and then I became a sub through the district and was a substitute throughout the district that second semester. 

Then the following year, they created a new 5th grade position at Lincoln Elementary and I taught at Lincoln for a number of years. Then when Cottonwood opened in 2001, I moved over there and taught 5th grade for two years there. Then I moved back to Lincoln, taught five years in 1st grade and then I got my administration and was an administrator at McKinley for a year, then Lincoln until it closed last year and now here I’m here at Meadowlark as the assistant principal. It’s been 31, nearly 32, years in education, with 26 of those years here in USD 480. 

Q: In that time, what are some changes you’ve noticed in the educational field that have taken place?

A: In education you’re always swinging from one pendulum side to the other. There have been a lot of changes especially within expectations of teachers, it’s become much more demanding. You don’t ever want to say teaching is easy, but it was much less stressful to be in the classroom in the past than now, there’s just so many more demands on the teachers’ time. It’s not anymore just here’s the math book, teach the lesson and then the students just sit and work 20 or 25 math problems or do a worksheet. There are so many things with the curriculum like crossing math and science together or tying reading and science together. There’s also more needs from students not necessarily from the education side but part of the world we live in. There’s some very great needs a lot of the students have from not having food at home – we used to not serve breakfast, we only did lunches. That’s probably the biggest thing, the teachers are now more than just providers of instruction, they’re now counselors and other things, there’s just a lot on their plates.  

Q: What would you say has contributed to some of that from your observations?

A: That’s not really my area of expertise, but I think one thing is mobility in our society, there’s not as much stability in the families as we once had so they move from school to school in town or they’re moving more throughout the country. We also have more grandparents taking care of students, so that creates new challenges. I think just that mobile society, not everything’s as stable as it used to be so the students aren’t always coming in fully prepared since they’re always moving.

Q: What has been your favorite thing about working in USD 480?

A: I was at Lincoln for so many of my years here in the district that I got to know those families very well. Of course there might be a student or two who moved from another district but with the core neighborhood of the students at Lincoln, a lot of them I’d taught their mom or dad in 5th grade and then I’d have their little one in 1st grade. So there was that cycle of families and I really got to know all of them. I love the students here too, they’re new faces and they’re great and want to be here and learn.

Q: With this being the first year of Meadowlark being open, how has everything been going? How do you all like being in the new building?

A: The building is fantastic. Of course not everything is 100 percent perfect, we’re still finding some small things that need fixing we’re getting help with. New staff, that’s been a bit of a challenge – they’re all great teachers and support staff, we’re just so large we don’t all quite know each other yet but we’re working on that. As an administrator I get to see everyone, students and staff, everyone’s great. There’s also a lot of new support staff who are fantastic. Overall, it’s been really positive. 

Q: What are you excited about for the rest of the school year?

A: We’re starting to implement some of the things the teachers are researching for the redesign and seeing how we want to take this into next year and then moving along and planning for the future. That and just continuing what we’re doing with the students right now by planting that seed of community. 




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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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