The literacy achievements made by Wilson® educators and students across the country have inspired us for more than three decades. This past school year certainly was no exception, as Fundations®, Just Words®, and Wilson Reading System® (WRS) teachers, coaches, and trainers abruptly entered uncharted territory: distance learning.
During Teacher Appreciation Month in May, we received more than 800 tributes to teachers who make indelible impressions in the classroom, and more recently, through virtual instruction. Many powered through new COVID-19 rules and major life challenges, such as the loss of loved ones, illness, and furloughs, all while managing to remain connected to their students and colleagues.
This outpouring of teacher tributes uplifted us throughout the summer as we worked steadfastly to prepare the Wilson community for the 2020-2021 school year by developing new and enhanced tools and resources to support high-quality instruction wherever that occurs—remotely, via blending learning, or in a classroom.
In New York, John K. shared that colleague Maria R. inspired him and many others with her dedication to her Fundations students.
“Maria R. goes above and beyond for her students, day in and day out. With remote learning…Maria guides students through interactive learning platforms, being sure to ask about their social emotional well-being.
“Maria does these things not because she has to, but because she loves to. She wants all of her children to get the most out of learning at home. Sometimes this means staying up well past midnight to make sure she gets the job done and gets it done well!”
In New Jersey, Kate H. shared how her colleague, Wilson® Dyslexia Practitioner (W.D.P.) Linda C., is a standout hero both in and out of the classroom.
“My co-worker Linda embodies all the characteristics of what a true Wilson leader should exemplify. Linda is not only a Reading Specialist, a Wilson Level I Certified teacher, and a Fundations Facilitator, but she is also a true hero to her students and colleagues.
“She makes sure the students receive the intervention strategies needed to become readers in a fun and inviting environment…She is always trying to support her students’ parents and colleagues through meetings and observation feedback scenarios. When our world called on teachers to teach virtually, she set out immediately to make sure her students still had those intervention techniques so that no learning time was lost. She is remarkable!”
In Missouri, Stephanie B. praised colleague Cathy R. as a much-appreciated fount of “caring and continuity.”
“Cathy R. is continuing her Wilson Reading System lessons remotely. She is meeting almost daily with her third graders, conducting live lessons via Zoom. In addition, the students submit their marking of words and writing work through our online platform, and she provides verbal and written feedback. Cathy is even mailing print resources as well as dropping off texts and incentives in mailboxes.
“The students are not only continuing to grow as readers and writers, but they feel connected to Ms. R. and to each other. During this time of uncertainty for our students, Cathy R. has been a constant source of caring and continuity.”
Genelle E., an elementary school principal and Wilson® Credentialed Trainer (W.C.T.) in Ohio, shared the following about her colleague Chris K., a recently credentialed Wilson® Dyslexia Practitioner (W.D.P.) in their district.
“When Chris K. received word of the stay-at-home orders, she instantly went into action and contacted her children receiving Wilson. She delivered needed supplies to their doorsteps and started video conferencing with them immediately, so they did not miss a day of service.
“Chris ensured that her students would not fall through the cracks during this extended time at home…In planning for this online learning experience, Chris was selfless in creating her schedule. She does what is best for each individual family and at times this means providing sessions outside of the typical school hours to meet the needs of working parents who provide remote learning to their children in the evenings.
“Parents often state that they feel her Wilson instruction is the most meaningful instruction the kids receive while they are at home and it brings peace of mind that their kids are receiving exactly what they need during this time.
“Chris goes above and beyond the call of duty during these unique times and her love for kids and passion for their learning is inspirational to all.”
The dedicated educators featured here, along with countless others across the country, have gone above and beyond to support their students during these unpredictable times. And based on their dedication last spring, we can be sure as we approach the still-unfolding school year ahead that teachers will continue to amaze and inspire us.