As more than a dozen Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers worked hard to return students to school, they also took on a learning opportunity that would be ambitious even in a non-pandemic school year.
Through a partnership between CMS and Queens University of Charlotte, Ann White, assistant superintendent of the Exceptional Children (EC) programs, notified teachers interested in obtaining an add-on EC license of the unique opportunity.
The teachers began in Oct. 2020 and finished as interns this summer at Camp CMS.
In a question and answer, Savannah Bryant, a first-grade teacher at Greenway Park, revealed her motivation and what it was like to work on this unique, first-time program.
What motivated you to apply for the add-on license?
Bryant: I was interested in applying for the EC licensure because I had been seeking an opportunity to learn how to serve my current students better, many of which already receive services. I always share with my scholars that the best leaders are always learning new things and thought this would be a wonderful way to live that out. Sharing with my first-grade students that their teacher was taking classes, logging onto zoom meetings and reading just like them created a genuine opportunity for connection and sharing.
What has it been like being a "student intern" at Camp CMS?
Bryant: After the uncharted and ever-changing school year we have had, it has been inspiring to continue to see educators show up relentlessly and continue to do what is best for students. I have had a firsthand look at this while working alongside some of the amazing EC staff this summer at Oakhurst Elementary. These educators have been so adaptable, creative, and engaging students in a fun, hands-on learning opportunities. It's been great to see students reaching those lightbulb moments this summer and stepping into a new school year with a newfound confidence in themselves.
How will you use the license in the future?
Bryant: I was interested in learning how I could better my role and partnership with the EC department at my school by taking a more hands-on approach and this licensure program has certainly equipped me to feel confident in doing just that! A statistic we learned in one of the courses shared students who are receiving EC services in a resource setting spend about 80% of their day in the general education classroom. This stuck with me. In this upcoming school year, I plan to share what I've learned with my professional learning community and look for ways to fuse general and special education more seamlessly to benefit my students.
Anything else you would like to mention regarding getting the license?
Bryant: I am so grateful to CMS and Queen's for partnering together and seeing value in teachers by allowing us to continue learning and growing. I have enjoyed working with my amazing cohort and learned so much from them and our shared experiences learning together.