In just four years as a special education teacher at Truman High School in Independence, Mo., Kara Schoff has been referred to as “a positive force in her school and community,” “the total package” and simply an “amazing teacher and person.” She’s also been recognized as both the building and the district teacher of the year—honors she took home during the 2016-17 school year.
Not bad for someone still fairly fresh out of college. Actually, it’s not bad for anyone at any stage of a teaching career. And now Schoff is adding another honor to her growing list: Blue KC Sporting Samaritan.
“It’s an honor,” said Schoff, 26, who graduated from the University of Central Missouri before being hired as a special education teacher at Truman. “I love being able to teach daily living skills to my students that will transfer over with them after graduation and also working with a staff that has turned into a family.”
As a special education teacher, Schoff focuses on teaching her students how to live independently and gain employment. With her students, Schoff practices skills such as rolling silverware, being a hostess, providing child and animal care, performing first aid and other skills that will allow them to live more autonomously after high school. And with each of the practical lessons, Schoff tries to instill related life lessons, as well.
“I try to teach my students to never stop learning and to always take the next step,” said Schoff, a native of Raytown, Mo., who now lives in Independence with her husband.
In addition to her role in the classroom, Schoff also serves as the coach for Truman’s Special Olympics teams, which compete in basketball, bowling and track. Holding this position since her arrival at Truman, Schoff enjoys helping her athletes gain confidence, have fun and earn the respect of each other and the other Truman students through their athletic participation.
With a reputation for being a dedicated teacher with genuine care for her students, Schoff was nominated for the Blue KC Sporting Samaritan honor by Bridget Garlich, a fellow former UCM student, who has observed the impact she’s made on the students at Truman.
“She is an amazing teacher who cares so much for each of her students,” said Garlich. “Her care and want for all of them to succeed is apparent in the actions she takes and the joy she has when she speaks of them. She is always trying to come up with new, innovative ways to teach her students. As the coach for the Special Olympics she is there with her students every step of the way and encourages them all to be their best. All of her attributes make her such a positive force in her school and community.”
For her positive impact on the students at Truman High School, Kara was chosen to be honored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City and Sporting KC as the Blue KC Sporting Samaritan for the month of June.
“We’re thrilled to honor Kara this month for her outstanding work at Truman High School,” said Christina Lively, Department Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Blue KC. “Her impact in just four years as a teacher is incredible, and she epitomizes the characteristics of a true Blue KC Sporting Samaritan.”
With Blue KC Sporting Samaritans being honored monthly at Children’s Mercy Park during Sporting home games, fans are encouraged to nominate students and teachers like Kara who are making a positive impact on their schools and in their communities. To nominate, visit https://www.sportingkc.com/bluekc.