What is it like to join a new school during a pandemic then help transition kids back to in-person learning? We caught up with educators who are newer to the Prospect Schools family but who bring incredible skill, dedication and passion to their work everyday.
Ruth Louis is a learning specialist at Downtown Elementary School (DTES) who joined in the middle of the pandemic. In the words of Principal Akinola-Pinard: “From the moment she joined us, Ruth’s passion for what she does has been infectious. Teachers and families continue to speak highly of the support that Ruth provides and her thoughtfulness — teachers learn from and with her. Ruth is so passionate about advocating for students with exceptionalities and committed to giving all students access to mastery. Her warm, calm and optimistic spirit makes her such a wonderful member of our community.”
Hear from Ruth in her own words…
I support our students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) to meet their goals, especially in reading and writing. I support 3rd and 5th graders. I joined DTES during the early pandemic. It was a crazy time to change roles and acclimate to a new school when there was no chance to meet in person. But the support was there to help with that transition. I can go to anyone and ask for help. I’m fortunate to be on the learning specialist team with amazing educators who are helpful to other teachers and the students they support. The team is amazing. Prospect Schools has an amazing set of educators and support staff who are willing to really dig in in a time where there has been fluctuation and change.
During quarantine, I just had to jump in and get to working with students and their goals. I wasn’t getting a chance to see them day-to-day or see their personalities. At the start of sessions during quarantine, I did build in time to get to know them, but it was rushed because we only had 30 minutes.
Now that we’re back in person, I get a chance to know students outside the school walls, what they like to do. I bring that into our small group sessions. For the population of students I work with who do have struggles, it’s so important for them to feel that there’s someone who knows and cares about them and shows them “I know that you can do it.”
I had one student who was thinking about spelling, letter formation and paragraph writing. It was a lot of pieces together. This student was working on a final project. Rewriting work can be a difficult task for them, so I sat down and reminded them to pause and think about spelling. The student was getting it done, thoughtfully planning, finding text evidence and making sure the spelling was accurate. I saw that feeling of accomplishment. We took a break to stretch fingers and I asked the student if they wanted another break. The student said, “no, I want to keep going!” It put a smile on my face knowing that they’d worked so hard.
What grounds me in my work is my son. I want him to have teachers that want the best for him as much as I do. I’m grounded in student success and wanting the best for every child. I know that every child can succeed even if it doesn’t look the same for every student. When students struggle and then have a proud “aha” moment, it’s a booster.