Ames High English Teacher Kendra Kruse recently won the Iowa Association of Alternative Education Newcomer Of The Year Award. This award is presented annually to an alternative educator who has less than five years of alternative education experience, and honors a person who is enthusiastic about promoting a positive atmosphere in the school setting, and is an advocate for students.
Kendra has been an invaluable member of the six person Ames High School Alternative Learning Program (ALP) Team for the past three years and she has taken on the unofficial responsibility of serving as the ALP team manager. In his nomination letter of recommendation, fellow Ames High teacher Ben Matthies wrote, “She has the unique experience of being the one teacher nearly all our ALP students interact with for four years of high school. She is able to build relationships with our students to teach them English, Life Skills, and simply be there as a positive, caring adult in the student’s life. It is with this same caring deposition that Kendra embraces any students who walks into her classroom, regardless of academic programming.”
In addition to teaching English, Kendra also co-sponsors the Mental Health Club at the high school, incorporates trauma informed care into the alternative education programming, and actively collaborates with the Youth Recovery House teacher. Perhaps most valuable of all, she has the respect from the students she works with. Students have described her as approachable, a great motivator, “one of the kindest hearted and gifted teachers in our school,” and just plain cool.
More information on the Iowa Association of Alternative Educators can be found on their website.