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Hear from Derrik Wiggins about how he coaches a robotics team, reaching students inside and outside the classroom.

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Meet Derrik Wiggins

Teacher Ambassador

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This is the picture of our first robotics team. It’s not about the things that they make; it’s about the education and experiences that they get. I want to make sure that I’m giving intentional education that ends up giving a voice to students.

Teaching

  • 3rd Grade Math

Education

  • Kansas State University

Awards

  • 2017 George Washington Carver Dual Language School Teacher of the Year
  • 2017 Kansas City Public Schools District Teacher of the Year
  • Terrific Teammate Award
  • Literacy Leader in 2016
  • ELA Content Leader in 2016
  • Robotics Team Co-Coach
  • Leadership and Instructional Planning Team member

Teacher Certification Program

Why I Teach

It feels my reason for being a teacher is always evolving, which I'm grateful for. Originally it was because I saw education as the major means of escaping poverty and helping families to make better lives for themselves. I wanted people to know how to achieve the dream they have for themselves and for them to have the education to so. However, this is the thinking I had right when I was taking the steps to become a teacher. My reason for teaching now has evolved over the past five years. I still teach with my original purpose, but much more has been added. I've learned to question the ways in which the educational system itself is the barrier to many student's education.

I've come to see the role of a teacher more clearly in what is and isn't taught and said in our communities. I see being a teacher as a responsibility and a blessing. I became a teacher in order to increase the equitable opportunities of all people. That includes helping give knowledge and perspective that empowers and emboldens voices with truth. 

By the Numbers

  • 15,000

    Dedicated Students

  • 2,100

    Teachers

  • 32

    Schools in District

About KCPS

  • About

    The purpose of Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) is to provide a quality education that prepares all of our students, regardless of background or circumstance, for success in college, career and life. We produce scholars who are high-achieving critical thinkers, prepared to succeed in a constantly changing world and engaged in improving their communities. KCPS accomplishes this goal by providing teachers with the appropriate training, resources and support they need to develop the whole child.

    • Student population, PK-12: 15,000+
    • Demographics: 57% Black; 28% Hispanic; 9% White; 6% Other
    • More than 50+ languages spoken by students
    • 1 out of 5 students’ first/primary language is not English
    • 100% students qualify for free meals
    • More than 2,100 employees
    • 18 Neighborhood Elementary Schools
    • 2 Neighborhood Middle schools
    • 4 Neighborhood High Schools
    • 7 Signature Schools
    • 1 Career and Technical School & Early College Academy
  • Salary, Compensation & Benefits

    KCPS offers a competitive salary package for our teachers. We are among the top three highest-paid districts in the Jackson County area. Starting salary with a bachelor’s degree begins at $38,505 and increases with the addition of graduate hours and/or years of service. 

    KCPS is committed to providing comprehensive benefits program designed to attract and retain high-quality faculty and staff. KCPS offers a wide range of balanced and competitive benefits for employees, including medical, dental, long- and short-term disability, life insurance, retirement plans, Health and Dependent Care Reimbursement Accounts, deferred compensation plans and an Employee Assistance Program. We support our employees and their families' health through these various insurance options.

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