Faces of 501: Darlene Hughes-Palmer

Topeka Public Schools has celebrated American Education Week this week, and today concludes the celebration with honoring one of our substitute teachers, Darlene Hughes-Palmer. Hughes-Palmer retired in 2014 after 32 years at TPS. She has substitute taught for the past three years, currently her assignment is at Pine Ridge Prep, a preschool within the district. 

“I’ve come full circle in my career. I started teaching Head Start in 1976 and have taught at every level from grade school to high school and now I’m back to teaching Pre-K students. When teaching the Pre-K level, you don’t have to teach to re-teach. We make sure that they have the basic skills to not only be successful here but throughout their educational career. They can start school and not have to play catch-up the rest of their way through school. I’ve had the opportunity to teach in three different school districts and in three different states. Two of those school districts were in a desegregation order. The main difference being, Pine Ridge Prep is not in a desegregation order, and all the students, have the same opportunity to attend and learn in a quality school.”

“The unique thing about teaching preschool is that you can address the developmentally appropriate cognitive, social, and emotional needs of the children that are necessary for getting a solid educational base. A solid educational base in preschool would minimize or even eliminate the achievement gap found in many of today’s public schools. I believe Early Childhood Education prepares the children to be educationally ready to be successful not only in kindergarten, but also their elementary, intermediate, and secondary educational careers.

“I want students to know that if they should stay focused and learn as much as they can. Listen to your teachers, be respectful to your parents. Set high expectations and don’t compromise on being the best you can be. Never give up.”

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