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Teachers back in classroom, appreciate bonuses

Community supporting teachers for their work with students.
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 8:43 PM EDT
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GREEN BAY, Wisc. (WVLT) -There is a group of educators who garnered national attention for keeping their doors open during the height of the pandemic, and in doing so received a nice cash gift from an anonymous donor. Now they’re back for another year and said looking back, they have no regrets.

They stand by their decision to stay in-person when everyone else went virtual.

Teacher Kevin Schwarten is doing what he loves again this fall, sharing his knowledge with students in his STEM classes at one of the Grace schools in Green Bay.

Grace Schools got a lot of recognition last year when they made the decision to stay open to in-person instruction during COVID, and now they’re still going strong.

The 190 Grace Schools teachers settled back into their classrooms this fall once again for in-person instruction, knowing they are deeply appreciated by their community.

And while the president of the school system said it was their decision not to shut down as so many schools across the country did that generated that appreciation, she knew it was the right thing to do.

”We were able to stay open and we were able to meet the needs of our students in the classroom,” said School President Kim Desotell.

It was a surprising anonymous cash donation for every single teacher in the school system that really highlighted their dedication to students.

”That affirmation for them was a big boost; it was a shot in the arm,” said Schwarten.

”It really meant a lot, you know, to know that there was a parent or someone out there that felt like they wanted to recognize the fact that teachers made that effort to continue the education of the children in this area,” said teacher Jodi Sullivan.

Sullivan said this fall, the proof has been in the performance of students who switch over to Grace Schools after being out of in-person learning.

”I had students come to me from other schools that didn’t know how to write their letters yet where the students that were in person with us were writing paragraphs,” said Sullivan.

Even with so much of the future still in-question for schools due to COVID, Grace School’s administration is taking a stance to stick to in-person learning.

”I think educators have to sit around and find ways to get to the, yes, we will be open instead of the no,” said Desotell. “Let’s find reasons and excuses to not have our doors open.”

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