Chalkboard Champion: Providing the right ingredients for students of all abilities

Updated: Jan. 15, 2021 at 11:10 AM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - “I always make messes in my classroom so we can learn to clean them up,” said Amanda Smith who teaches special education students at The Haven.

Smith is the newest Chalkboard Champion for Sarasota County and was nominated by a parent of a student in her classroom.

“She has something that I call “the heart”. That’s a person who can accept a child with special needs and treat them just like everyone else and it’s the best thing on earth,” said Gloria Allegra.

Her son Mark has been a student in Smith’s class for the past year. She said they have tried different schools but she feels this is the best option for her son.

“I feel safe when I drop him off so that’s what I’m talking about, the heart. You got to accept these children for who they are,” Allegra added.

Smith has worked in the field and with special education students for almost 19 years.

“We naturally adapt everything, in my class we have a range of abilities and they’re really good about helping each other. Everything is very much adapted to their abilities and skills and we just build from that. I try incorporate cooking once a week because it can be math, it can be science, it’s learning life skills, and daily skills,” Smith said.

Thank you Amanda Smith for everything you’re doing for students!

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