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Audio: Activating Student Engagement Through Brain-Based Learning

Kathleen Cigich

Activating Student Engagement Through Brain-based Learning. Educators at Lakewood Elementary School take pride in creating schoolwide, interdisciplinary curriculum that students find exciting and memorable. They ground their strategies in a brain-based approach, meaning that lessons are designed to activate students’ brains, and that educators help children understand how learning happens.

Kathleen Cigich, Lakewood’s principal, explains in the audio profile that students in all grades “learn about different parts of the brain, and how that brain can impact a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. Our students even learn about metacognition and cognitive awareness, so that they know that reflecting on their own thinking will help them as learners”.

Cigich also notes that because “we know the brain turns on when there [are] life experiences involved”, teachers in all subjects get creative with their lessons, and are supported through collaboration time and ongoing learning about new findings in brain science.

To listen to the full podcast, scroll down. You can download the transcript here.

Lakewood Elementary School Students
“During our integrated Oregon Trail simulation, kids are immersed in the history of this time period by walking in the shoes of the pioneers as they travel the trail. Participating in an interactive unit not only helps the kids learn the content, but it allows for development of communication and collaboration skills. Plus, this type of learning experience is a fun and memorable one!” – Robin Weinand, Lakewood Teacher
Lakewood Students Musical
Lakewood students perform an original musical. “Our music teacher writes musicals each year with her students, and that pulls in the brain because it’s asking our students to really become the author of the musicals. Everything is done by the students, from set design to costumes to program designs.” – Kathleen Cigich, Lakewood Principal

School Information

Lakewood elementary School

Mrs. Kathleen Jane Cigich

Principal at time of Nomination

14600 Lamar Avenue
Overland Park, KS 66223-9998
(913) 239-6500
Student Demographics 2019 
Number of students K-5611
Students eligible for subsidized meals6%
Students receiving special ed services11%
African American students5%
White students50%
Asian students33%
Hispanic or Latino students6%
Two or more races6%
Student mobility rate13%