Appreciating Amazing Educators

Teachers & Principals | 05/06/2020

Jessica Reynolds
National Digital Coordinator

This Teacher Appreciation Week looks quite different than in years past. With many school buildings closed for nearly two months now, educators have adapted and shifted their instruction online. To celebrate this week, we wanted to spotlight several Stand-connected educators who are going above and beyond to do everything they can for students during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Kacy Patin - West Baton Rouge teacher


Once school closures were announced, Kacy worked quickly to turn her living room into a classroom. She was determined to connect with her students, to support them through this uncertain time. With the help of her own child and a crafty sock puppet, Kacy has posted dozens of daily activity videos that engage her students and help explain the current situation, why people now where masks, and assures them daily that they she is thinking of them and loves them all. 

Aaron Jura - Orleans Parish school administrators 

When schools closed under stay at home orders, Aaron knew he couldn’t sit still; he had to make sure each and every child in his network had the technology and internet access to connect with their school, their teachers, and their friends. Over the course of three days he worked quickly to secure laptops and hotspots for every child that needed one through donations and leveraging school resources. He spent the first official week of quarantine hand delivering that technology to every family who needed it so they could continue to learn and connect. He also found time to create and host, out of his own pocket, The Louisiana Virtual Academy, a free virtual classroom staffed with Louisiana educators willing to volunteer their time and expertise to teach.

Maria Diaz Lopez - Dallas 5th grade bilinguial teacher

Maria Diaz Lopez, a participant in Stand's Home Visit Project, has been a champion for the student’s and families at Titche Elementary. She and her HVP teammates worked diligently to support their students academically and socially and emotionally. During this pandemic, Maria is supporting her students and their families with food and other essential items, far beyond academics while at the same time, supporting her own family. 

Abby Rufer - Dallas high school math teacher 

Abby Rufer, a Home Visit Project educator, has been a champion for her freshman students and their families, embracing the at-home learning experience by producing YouTube videos, and going beyond academics to make sure her students have enough food.

"I'm a teacher because I believe in advocating for equitable access to education for all students. For me, empowering our kids means doing as much as I can to ensure that all parents, families, and community members are included in as many areas of the educational environment as possible. My kids deserve to have a voice in how they learn, and building a culturally responsive classroom where every family is supported is an integral part of that." 

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