WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - “If you're finding something that's working in education, like we're finding here in Wichita, we need to put a bright line on that. We need to spotlight it."

That was the sentiment of US Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten after visiting the Wichita and Derby school districts on Tuesday. Marten is visiting schools in five states across the mid-west as part of the tour for the Department of Education.

One of the stops was at Jackson Elementary in Wichita where she was shown a program designed by the school's counselor and funded by federal Covid money. The mindfulness room.

District superintendent Kelly Bielefeld says the room is used as, “an opportunity for kids to learn different skills. Learn what makes them energized, what makes them to calm down if they need to calm down, and then to use those same skills in the classroom and throughout life in order to meet their needs."

The mindfulness room is just one example of how Wichita schools used its federal funds. There was also a stop at the district’s Future Ready Center, which opened earlier this year.

Bielefeld says when it came to spending the federal ESSER funds, the district, “tried to invest some of the money in long term investments."

Marten added that, “it's great to see real concrete examples of dollars being put to work. This is what investing America looks like."

She says its vital for officials in the DOE to visit schools and see first hand what is working in education because it can inform a lot of what they do on a national level.

“We like to go to places, like Wichita, where what is being done here is highly replicable. It's sustainable. It's scalable, it's systematic, it's systemic, it's equitable.’

Marten also visited Wineteer elementary in Derby earlier Tuesday morning to greet students as the got to school and see inside a few classrooms.