It goes without saying that most of the teachers in Lincoln County have been challenged by the disruption in learning that occurred during the COVID pandemic. Some students adjusted to remote learning without any issues, but many struggled, and some are still struggling. One such teacher, Chelsea Proctor, a third-grade teacher at Battleground Elementary School, is one of those teachers who met pandemic-induced learning challenges head-on and succeeded.
One of her students this year, Elizabeth Raimey, came to Battleground in the first grade, already a little behind her peers and had to be held back her first year. She was previously enrolled in a larger school district and wasn’t quite getting the attention she needed to succeed.
“She was struggling in all of her tests,” Proctor said. “She was below grade level in her reading and math.”
Virtual learning didn’t do Elizabeth any favors and when she came back to school for in-person learning, Proctor started intervention.
“I started incorporating literature circles in my classroom which is where you give each group their own book to read and they come together to discuss the book,” she said. “Elizabeth’s mom reached out to me one day and said that she didn’t know what we were doing but ‘she’s suddenly loving reading. She’s obsessed with reading books, wants to go to the library every day and every time we go somewhere she wants to buy a book.’”
At the end of this school year, Elizabeth passed both her reading and math EOGs. She’s actually a little upset that she couldn’t go to summer school, according to her mother, Jennifer Shumate Raimey.
“What Ms. Proctor didn’t tell you is that even when we were remote learning, she did a lot with remote learners,” Principal Tracy Eley said.
Proctor didn’t rely on other’s videos for her students, she made her own. She also did Google slides which were interactive worksheets, so she was able to give immediate feedback. This was back before all of the children had Chromebooks so she had to make adjustments for those students who didn’t have devices.
“We didn’t really miss a beat,” she said. “It wasn’t a review – they were learning new things. We had Google Meets every Wednesday from 11 to 12 and they could message me any other time. I was always available on Google Meet and we did a lot of screen sharing.”
As far as Proctor is concerned, it doesn’t matter where a student comes from, she’s going to give them the tools that they need to succeed.
“That’s my only job,” she said. “As long as I give every kid the tools to succeed, then I’m done my job. The tools each one needs is completely different. That’s part of getting to know them. Elizabeth’s needs were very different than others. If you learn the kids and give them what they need, no matter where they come from, then they have the chance to succeed. I love a challenge too. Remote learning was hard for all of us, and we learned it together.”
Raimey is thrilled with her daughter’s progress.
“This place (Battleground) is not a school, it’s a culture,” she said. “It starts with Ms. Eley and goes down. They look at the whole child, they invest in them, they know everything about them, and it doesn’t matter where your child comes from. Elizabeth is more confident. Ms. Proctor is more than her teacher now. She’s a mentor, someone she looks up to. She wants to be like her.”