In their own words

photo of McKenzie
McKenzie Baecker, Middle School Science Teacher

I was really afraid that summer would create a rut for students. “It’s virtual, what’s the point.” However, our crew has showed up every day. The most rewarding and satisfying thing that I have seen … is truly how resilient our kids are. We have known this… this has provided a platform for them to shine. In many ways, they adapt to remote learning better than us adults. 

I work with [7th and] 8th graders. I see the final sprint towards the finish line. While we have opportunities for growth, our students are most definitely set up for success [in high school]. A lot of that is because of the amazing dedication of our staff. When staff has that dedication, students rise to the occasion regardless. 

“D” has made leaps and bounds from the spring and from the summer [to now]. In the springtime, he really struggled to stay motivated, to come to class. He generally knew where he needed to be but took the attitude that, “If I can sleep in, I will.” He and I had a conversation at the end of last year. “Ms. McKenzie, I really don’t want to stay behind. What do I have to do?” We talked about how he was going to summer school… it was up to him. There were calls and emails to remind him to get to bed and wake him up. This year, I have not had to remind him one time. I have seen him really take on the independence and responsibility to become a leader of his own learning. I think about him as I try to empower him to have agency. If he continues this, he will have so much success in high school. Just the amount of maturity he has demonstrated in a short time has been mind-blowing.