Preparing for a career in the education field was made easier for Lakyn Frey thanks to a cohort offered in Jane, Mo.

“I had been accepted to and given a scholarship (to another university), but I decided MSSU would be a better fit for me,” says the Bella Vista, Ark., resident. “I chose the Jane campus instead of the main campus in Joplin because it is a lot closer to my home.”

Frey, who graduated from Missouri Southern in mid-May, was selected as one of the program’s Outstanding Graduate award recipients. She says the smaller class sizes and the ability to maintain a job while attending school were major factors in her decision.

The convenience and location of the facility in Jane offers an attractive option for students and is one of the reasons the program is growing, according to Matthew Beaver, Missouri Southern’s coordinator teacher education.

“The Jane cohort at the Crowder College-MacDonald County campus provides the final two years of courses that lead to certification in elementary education,” he says. “The hybrid nature of these courses allows students to attend face-to-face classes two days a week and complete the rest of the course work online.”

Frey, a 2012 graduate of Rogers Heritage High School, attended the University of Central Arkansas-Conway and then spent two years at Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC). In her junior year, she transferred to Missouri Southern in Joplin. Not long after that, the campus in Jane opened.
“I spent three semesters at the Jane campus taking hybrid classes,” she says. “We normally had class Tuesday and Thursday mornings, so Monday, Wednesday and Friday we could get in all of the required hours of field work.”

Beaver says Missouri Southern has worked closely with Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) to ensure a smooth transition to Missouri Southern’s program.

“Thanks to people in our Advising, Counseling and Testing department, we were able to administer the teacher education entry exams on the Crowder College-McDonald County campus for the first time this spring,” Beaver says. “We hope to continue this service.”

The program is steadily growing. This year, four students completed their education in Jane: Frey of Bella Vista, Elizabeth Reyes of Rogers, Ark., and Katelin Forbes and Breanna Watkins of Noel, Mo. The next cohort should have 10 graduates. About 15 students are finishing up requirements to attend the program in Jane this fall.

Beaver says the Jane cohort has a lot going for it.

“It reaches more students by creating a flexible schedule for working students to provide for themselves and their families while pursuing a teaching degree,” he says. “We have been able to do this without sacrificing the quality of our program.”

Frey recently signed a contract with the Neosho School District to teach fourth grade at Goodman Elementary School. She believes Missouri Southern has prepared her for success in her field.

“The best thing about getting my degree from MSSU was how comfortable I felt being there,” Freys says. “I made lifelong friends in my classes and my professors actually took the time to get to know me personally. I loved how small and close-knit, almost family like, the school is. The professors are willing to go above and beyond for their students.”