Curriculum Contest Winner
I am very pleased to announce the winner of the SOAR® Curriculum Contest; congratulations to Kristin Bourgeois of Cedar Park, Texas! Kristin Bourgeois will receive a classroom set of SOAR® books and a license for our Multi-Media Teacher’s Guide.
We asked for compelling stories. And, we got them! It was difficult to select a winner. In the end, our staff chose Kristin’s story as the one to highlight. This is what she shared with us:
I can honestly say every single one of my students is crying out for support in managing the day-to-day things many of us take for granted. All of my students have learning disabilities, already giving them obstacles.
Hello, my name is Kristin Bourgeois, and I am a 36-year-old special education teacher from Cedar Park, Texas. I have 12 years of teaching experience, some years spent as a Teen Leadership teacher, others in special education. I am currently a 7th grade tracking teacher.
My students are already behind the curve. They really struggle to keep up with papers, use a planner, learn study strategies, and fit it all into their study time. These things are difficult for most middle school students, but my students are at an even greater disadvantage due to their disabilities. Their learning disabilities already give them obstacles. But those obstacles are compounded by a lack of systems and planning to manage their school day. Then at the end, they feel defeated and ready to give up.
I’m overloaded with responsibilities, which continue to grow, for my 21 students: monitoring grades, completing ARD paperwork, providing inclusion support, and ensuring my students’ accommodations/modifications are being followed in their general education classrooms. In addition, I must also teach four classes of Study Skills.
For background, the Study Skills classes on our campus consist of only special education students. My students have a variety of needs. Some need support with assignment completion, some need reteach opportunities in small group settings, and others just need a daily chance to check-in with an adult to help stay on task. I have no Study Skills curriculum for my students.
There’s not enough hours in the day to meet my students’ needs. I’ve attempted to build my own program by piecing lessons together, here and there. But, I don’t have time to do everything. I’ve asked for help in regards to securing an effective curriculum for my students but have been met with budget constraints time after time.
I have researched many of the Study Skills curriculum available; each time, I come back to the SOAR® program. It fits my teaching style and also seems very practical for my students. I truly believe their academic lives would forever be altered by your curriculum. I would be so honored to pilot this program with my 7th grade study skills classes; ultimately, I would love to see it used school-wide.
Kristin’s experience is very familiar to many teachers. So is her dedication!
Thank you, Kristin, for working tirelessly to support your students and for being a study skills advocate. You have spoken on behalf of countless educators, whose frustrations and dedication are echoed in your story.
I am excited for you to receive your materials and begin empowering your students soon! This will be an exciting journey for all of you. I hope you will share your journey with us and send updates. (If you can squeeze in the time. :)) We would all love to hear the stories that are sure to emerge from your work. Congratulations!