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We’re highlighting a teacher every Wednesday as a part of the #RedForEd campaign.

Every year is a great year to celebrate our teachers, but this year has shined a bright light on the flexibility and compassion of our incredible staff.

Today we’re highlighting Mrs. Ashley Sereno, a special education teacher at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School.

What motivates you?
When I think of what motivates me, I think of my students. Every year I strive to build strong relationships with my students, because this is the biggest key to educational success. Through these relationships we learn from each other.  Watching them make progress and realizing their own personal gains gives me a sense of determination to continue pushing myself as their educator. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a student succeed at something that has been so challenging for them. 

How has your job changed due to COVID?
COVID has impacted our educational system dramatically, but I don’t like to look at it in a negative light. This life changing event has taught us many different ways to maintain our health and wellness, innovate our teaching styles, and connect with our students in ways we never thought we would. I do miss the days without masks, because I miss seeing my kiddo’s smiling faces and having the ability to read their feelings. Learning and utilizing Google Meets this school year has allowed us to see those AMAZING smiles from a far! 

What is something that people don’t understand about your job?
 think some people may not fully understand what special education is. When I respond to the question “What do you teach?” I usually get a sympathetic response. Many people automatically think of severe and profound disabilities. Special education is so much more. This area of teaching also targets students who struggle in a specific academic area, have a mild cognitive impairment or have a medical diagnosis that impedes their ability to learn. With well planned supports and interventions from a special education teacher, these students will be granted the same opportunities as their peers to be successful in life. 

Why do you love VCSC/your school?
I truly love working with the staff and students at Benjamin Franklin. As any educator will tell you, teaching isn’t easy. We face MANY types of challenges in our field and having a supportive staff to lean on, vent to, or even bounce ideas off of is crucial. I am grateful to have this type of support at a school that I consider a second home. 

Be sure to check back on #Staffurday–Saturday, that is–as we recognize members of our non-teaching staff. We’ll continue both campaigns through the end of the school year.