The administration dropped the option of being a student teacher aide in the 2020-21, becoming the only school in the district that doesn’t offer this option.
Principal Dr. Dale Longenecker made this decision last year and decided to keep the decision in place, as there are other opportunities.
“Olathe offers a rich, wide and diverse curriculum,” Longenecker said. “I am a firm believer that our students need to be exploring their interests and taking courses to prepare them for their next step in life. [South] is rarely the finish line. Our 21st Century programs, electives and core electives offer far more opportunities for our students.”
Janis McKinney, who works with the counseling office, however, disagrees and thinks aides are beneficial.
“We would also have them help us with projects for pre-enrollment, like filling folders with enrollment forms and information.” McKinney said. “I enjoyed having office aides as it gave me the opportunity to interact with students that are in our building.”
There are also legal concerns for having teacher aides in this day and age of education, given how the role of TAs has changed over the years..
“Decades ago, a TA would grade papers and produce instructional materials for the teacher. Modern teaching is now heavy on the computer side. A TA could not legally use the teacher’s login to get on a computer or copier and they can’t do any grading or work in a gradebook. There really is very little left for a student to do with a TA assignment,” Longenecker said.
Although most haven’t been, some courses are allowed to have TAs.
“There have been a couple of isolated cases where a TA has been approved but philosophically we are wanting our students in our classes and programs progressing toward their post-secondary goals.” Longenecker said.