Why did you become an educator?
The reason I became an educator was because I was a struggling student with ADHD. Later during my adult life, I discovered I have a learning disability in reading. It was then I realized I must have had some incredible parents and teachers who supported me through my struggles. I share all the time that I would have thrived in a virtual school where I could have worked more on my pace without the social pressures of the class to “get it” so the teacher could move on. However, virtual schools did not exist in my state. Traditional home school was not what it is now and my parents recognized that they were not professional educators and wanted support. Therefore, I had extra tutors and counselors to support me through my struggles both academically and with my ADHD. Through these experiences, my heart grew for those children who suffered like me. I understand the struggle to learn and very passionate about supporting all students to overcome those struggles.
What do you love about your school?
I love my school for a variety of reasons but ultimately it’s at the heart of why I became an educator. All K12 schools have a goal of helping all students make one year’s growth. For many years I was considered a below basic reading student. It broke my heart to look at my test results. What I love about my school is that we take out as many of the social pressures to keep moving. If a student needs more than 30 minutes to complete their math lesson for the day, they can. During my class connects, we work on the skills that the data shows they need. I don’t teach only 4th-grade skills because that’s my grade level. If the majority of my students are on a 3rd-grade level when we start a particular online course unit, I’m going to spend some time working on those skills they are missing so they are more successful. Small groups are very tailored to the student as well. Some of my students receive one on one instruction form our interventionist while I teach a small group of students. Students are getting what they need with more flexibility and support in their homes.
Why is it important that lower income children can attend schools of choice?
Lower-income children tend to have more academic needs. It’s important that they have school choice because the neighborhood school may not be equipped to give those students the time or the resources needed to fill those gaps. I have personally witnessed students from low-income families make huge academic gains. I’m thankful they had a strong learning coach that supported them throughout the day in their academics and ensured they attended our whole group and small group class connects.