Shawn Grant, sixth- through eighth-grade special education teacher, had only been with the Flagship Charter Academy family since the beginning of the school year before the COVID-19 crisis. But, when she went in to clean out her office, she thanked her principal for the best year she had taught in over 20 years.
“Most times when you have a new employee, they’ll just sit back to learn the ropes of the school,” said Nicole Woods, principal at Flagship. “Ms. Grant saw the need with our scholars and jumped right in. Not only working to support our students, but the staff as well. She is a great asset to our Flagship family.”
Ms. Grant completed her doctorate course work online and several post-graduate classes, but this has been her first time teaching remotely. “Remote learning is possible, and it can be a huge advantage for certain individuals,” said Ms. Grant. “Your heart, your mind, your moral, and your ethics all have to be aligned to it.”
She believes that some of her students are performing well with this type of learning. “I have a few students who have become rock stars with remote learning,” said Ms. Grant. “They are able to pace themselves so they are comfortable, they are now able to choose the best time for them to learn, and they have the support of their general education and special education providers in several different formats.”
Ms. Grant’s work hours are communicated, but she likes having the flexibility to help students when they need it. She mentioned that some of her students turn in work in the middle of the night, because that’s when they focus best. Students who have been self-motivated and have excelled during this time have even been rewarded with pizza delivered to their homes.
Her students can utilize the Google Classroom, which is shared by Ms. Grant, both of the school’s social workers, the speech and language pathologist, and the occupational therapist. They hold a Special Education Google Meet weekly for students, and she co-facilitates a general education and special education Google Meet twice a week for middle school Excel-eration classes.
In addition to providing assignment assistance to her students on Google Meet, she utilizes the platform to provide stability and social and emotional support for her students. “At this time, mental health is a priority over academic achievement as we continue moving forward toward an uncertain future,” said Ms. Grant. “We have at least two adults to support our students during Google Meet session with this in mind.”
Keep up the incredible work, Ms. Grant!