A Salina elementary school teacher has been honored.
According to USD 305, members of NEA-Salina selected Carolynn Phalen as the USD 305 Master Teacher. She is also one of seven Kansas teachers chosen by Emporia State University as the 2019 Kansas Master Teachers.
Phalen has taught for 15 years at Salina USD 305, and currently teaches first grade at Grace E. Stewart. She earned her bachelor’s in elementary education from Kansas State University and her master’s in curriculum and instruction from Baker University.
Phalen began her career at Oakdale Elementary teaching first grade and later taught third grade, which she really enjoyed. Since 2015 Phalen returned to teaching first graders at Grace E. Stewart. Beyond providing the special care early elementary students occasionally need, she knows that helping students to concentrate and focus does not always mean sitting still. She has concluded, “Students who have difficulty with concentration and focus benefit from movement, sensory input, comfort, and choice.” Now, her students get to personalize their learning environment through choosing seating of all kinds – including stability balls, beanbag chairs, scoop chairs for rocking, kneeling mats – and an elevated table for anyone who wants to stand to do their work.
As a result, Deanna Carpenter, Stewart Elementary principal stated, “Carolynn’s classroom is a joy to visit! Students reflect their teacher’s love for learning and kindness for one another.”
Phalen sees leadership roles as a way to really impact student learning. Her experience includes serving as representative to the Elementary Curriculum Academy, math horizontal alignment committee, the NEA negotiations team and more including
- member on leadership teams at both Stewart and Oakdale elementary schools
- mentor to new teachers
- member of Stewart’s Site Council team
- ambassador for a new teacher
- supervisor of student observers
- cooperating teacher for student teachers
- trainer for Mastery Connect
- host of a model classroom for whole group reading and Monitored Independent Reading Practice (MIRP) observers at Oakdale.
Phalen enjoys being involved in school functions where the students can see her in roles other than just their teacher. A few of the activities that she routinely volunteers for are fun night, marathon family walks, bingo night, book fairs, and appetite for success functions. Outside of school, Phalen teaches Sunday School and Vacation Bible School.
Video created by Mustang Media students who are on the Salina Central High School broadcast staff including Molly Michaelis, Kamryn Arnold and Miles Denning.