Earlier this week, public schools across the state were ordered to close in response to the coronavirus appearing in Montana. MFPE member Cherie Stordal is a special education teacher in Great Falls and said that “it seems as though everything has changed in the face of COVID-19.” However, like many other MFPE members, that hasn’t stopped Cherie from serving her students.
“Our students are not in school, but that does not stop the need for learning and moving forward with educational goals,” Cherie said. “I am a special education teacher, so that means each of my students need individualized learning packets.”
What is Cherie doing to meet the needs of Great Falls students? “I developed a packet for each of the students that I serve, in hopes they will be able to maintain skills during this untimely closure. The data collected each day was imperative to drive the focus of the learning packets. My packets included lessons, tools, books, and educational games. Some of the tools I included in the packets were pencils, number lines, flashcards, multiplication charts, 100 charts, glue sticks, crayons, color pencils, dice, game pieces, and perhaps a coloring book. I do not expect to have the tools returned, but were needed to make sure students have what they need to be successful during this school closure.”
Cherie’s work doesn’t stop with her students. Instead, like so many other MFPE members, her work extends to parents and the entire community. Cherie told us that she and her colleagues have all contacted each of their students’ families to see if they need any assistance over during this time.
MFPE members across Montana are working tirelessly to make sure Montana families are taken care of. “We have contacted each of our families, to see if there are ways we can support them through this time,” Cherie told us. “As a district, we have worked very hard to make sure families in need have supplies from our food pantries and everyone under the age of 18 is welcome to pick up a free lunch and breakfast each day from our food trucks.”
While school closures mean even more work for Montana’s education professionals, Cherie says she is grateful the schools have closed for the time being. “In midst of our new crazy, I do hope that the students’ health and safety stay at the forefront of all decisions,” says Cherie. “I am very proud of my colleagues for taking the time to create meaningful work packets that address the needs of all students. This will definitely be difficult to ‘bounce’ back from, but the professionalism shown throughout my district is second to none!”