EFFINGHAM — To teach the third grade, you have to feel at home with kids wherever you go, including in an entirely new community.

Katie Ohnesorge has learned this lesson well in the last few months she has been teaching at Atchison County Community Elementary School, and now she has experienced her “first first” day of school as students and parents gathered at ACCES to meet their new teachers. Ohnesorge graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri in December.

Already, she’s known as “Miss Oh” to the community, as she progresses for herself and for the benefit of her students on the career path she’s known she would follow since her second day in college.

“I’ve had so much support from the parents and from the community,” she said. “People are always proactive in reaching out and making sure I have everything that I need. In a lot of districts, if a kid gets into trouble or starts to struggle academically, I’ve been told you kind of have to brace yourself ... Will the parents be on board with what you want to do? Not the case here. Parents have come up to me and let me know that I can call them, email them, text them at any time and they’ll get on it.”

Ohnesorge’s fellow new teacher at ACCES, Courtney Kasson, has been an educator for several years and feels right at home in a rural district, having graduated from Perry-LeCompton High School in Perry in 2009.

“This is just what I know,” she said. “I grew up on a farm, I relate to those types of kids. You find these kids just want to work hard for you. That’s what they’re taught way before they get here. They’re farm kids. I really like to work with kids like that. Like I said, it’s just more relatable.”

While chowing down with his students and his family on a hot dog feat served by the Atchison County Community Schools USD 377 bus drivers and the USD 377 board of education, Dr. Andrew Gaddis, superintendent of schools, reflected on the opportunities presented to the students and teachers in the year to come.

“This is one of the easiest places in the world (for a teacher) to get integrated into,” he said. “The community is very supportive of the school and the employees. They’re always ready to help them find places to live, to provide resources and other things. And, you know, with that, I think the other side is, the teachers very quickly learn how the students are, where they come from, what their needs are. And we have the best students around. Altogether, I think we’re doing great things.”

For more information about the coming year at USD 377, visit https://www.usd377.org/

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