Michelle Langton has been named the Blue KC Sporting Samaritan for October.
The kindness and compassion Michelle Langton expresses to her students has been on full display for the past two decades. During her various teaching stints in both Kansas and Florida, Langton has found the perfect fit at Broken Arrow Elementary School in the Shawnee Mission School District. For the past four years, she’s taught a ‘Structured Learning Classroom’ that helps students learn how to communicate – whether through spoken language, gestures, picture exchanges or augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices.
“We have one of the largest Small Learning Community (SLC) elementary programs in the district,” said Langton. “I’m privileged to work with amazing paraprofessionals that are right next to me, helping me give the students the necessary skills they need to be successful.”
Langton’s classroom varies but mostly consists of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, Traumatic Brain Disorder or other disabilities where there is a significant communication delay.
“Our team’s goal is to model an environment that creates a safe and welcoming learning environment for all students,” said Langton.
While it may be difficult to pinpoint one specific moment or accomplishment during Langton’s ongoing career, she says her proudest moments are when she sees a student playing with someone else who previously didn’t possess that skill. She also cherishes watching her students initiate communication and conversation on their own when they didn’t have that skill beforehand. Every milestone is celebrated, no matter how big or small.
After receiving her undergraduate teaching degree from Kansas State University, Langton continued her studies and earned her master’s degree from the University of Kansas. She is currently continuing her education courses at Pittsburg State University and Baker University.
“Always end the school day letting your students know you can’t wait to see them again tomorrow, no matter what the circumstances have been,” said Langton.
She encourages her students to show kindness on a daily basis and reminds them that what may be easy for them, may not be as easy for others. Langton wants her students to “Be the best YOU can be.”
When it comes to instilling standards with those she teaches, Langton knows that the students at Broken Arrow Elementary are always watching and always listening. They’re closely following each teacher for prompts on how to respond to everyday stimuli. She knows that it is her job to present a daily model for solving problems, self-regulating emotions and showing kindness to one another.
“It’s a great honor to be recognized (as a Blue KC Sporting Samaritan), especially after the year we have just experienced,” said Langton. “Of all my years teaching, this has been hardest, but also the most rewarding. Teachers don’t go into education for the recognition, but if it does happen, it is such a humbling experience.”
“Michelle is a special needs teacher with the understanding and patience of a saint,” said Nicole Welsh, Michelle’s nominator. “She truly loves all of her students and even contacts us during breaks from school and during the summer, just to check in on how her students are doing. She has gone above and beyond any expectations we would have had for our son's teacher, and we love her dearly.”
“As you can see from Michelle’s nominator, her dedication and perseverance to helping those she teaches is a quality we should all strive for,” said Christa Dubill, Blue KC Chief Communications Officer. “Michelle embraces the challenge of educating and assisting those who need it most and does it with a shining smile day-after-day. We’re proud to highlight her 20+ years of teaching and enjoy sharing her story with those in the Kansas City community.”
Blue KC Sporting Samaritans will continue to be recognized monthly at Children’s Mercy Park during Sporting home games. Fans are encouraged to nominate teachers and students who are making a positive impact on their schools and communities by using the form online at https://www.sportingkc.com/BlueKC.