El Dorado Middle School (EMS) Intellectual Disability Teacher Connie Allmond has been named a 2018 Kansas Master Teacher by Emporia State University.

“I do not believe in limiting student achievement,” Allmond said. “Can’t is not a word I want to hear.”

A colleague observed that Allmond impacts student achievement by setting goals that are “lofty, yet attainable.” According to a parent, Allmond’s recipe for success, is “high expectations, patience and love.”

An intellectual disability teacher for grades 6-8, she teaches at EMS, where she has worked for nearly 20 years. Allmond earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Emporia State University in 1999 and a master’s in education from Emporia State in 2002.

“Since all of my students are at a different level intellectually, I design my lessons to meet them where they are [then lead them] beyond what they first believe is possible,” Allmond said.

When she recognized most of her students lacked basic cooking skills due to their parents’ concerns about safety, Allmond set a goal of building their skills to the point they could make their own birthday cakes. The goal was reached, but the learning didn’t stop with birthday cakes. She now has students who plan, prepare and clean up after an entire Thanksgiving feast feeding more than 50 people.

Other goals include making sure her students gain basic math skills, can manage a bank account, go shopping and pay bills. She also wants them to get the point of not just being able to read – but have a love of reading.

A student, who was told by a previous teacher she would never read a book, was able to read to her mother for the first time. Allmond said, “It was moving to see the emotions play across mom’s face while her daughter was reading aloud. By the time the daughter finished, mom burst into tears of joy and embraced her daughter.”

Another student shared, “Mrs. Allmond is a great teacher. She gives me a weighted blanket when schoolwork is hard. She gives me hugs when I cry. Now I read at home. I play games at home. Mrs. Allmond is the best in the world.”

Through the support of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, each Master Teacher will be presented with a check for $1,000.

The seven recipients were selected by a nine-member committee including representatives from various state teachers committees and education boards.

The 2018 Master Teachers will be honored on Master Teacher Day to be held Wednesday, April 4 at Emporia State University. Tickets for the dinner cost $17, and reservations are required by Wednesday, March 28. For more information, see www.emporia.edu/teach/master/reservationform.html.