A critical piece of the D38 mission to elevate the futures of every student, every day is serving students across all levels of need. From students who need no assistance to those who have unique needs, we are committed to a promise of access and inclusivity. This month, I would like to shine a spotlight on Brandy Doan, who supports students with unique needs at the secondary level as a Special Education Teacher.
Experts like Brandy help our district adapt each school year and ensure all students feel welcome and confident in their ability to graduate from our district with a quality D38 education.
For 18 years, Brandy has worked in various capacities with D38, starting as a paraprofessional at Lewis-Palmer Middle School. After finding love for her work, she pursued a master’s degree in Special Education and eventually paved a path to Palmer Ridge High School.
“Giving individuals an opportunity to shine and demonstrate knowledge, even if it’s in an unconventional manner drives me,” Brandy said. “Giving students an opportunity to belong when sometimes they have difficulty doing that is so important, and we are fortunate PRHS is such a welcoming environment.”
At times, the work is challenging and intensive. Brandy said her team, which includes paraprofessionals, seeks to provide an individualized education.
“We do this so that my students meet the same graduation requirements and expectations as anybody else in the school. They aren’t just given a grade, they earn a grade, and they work hard for it,” she said.
The hard work across the board is rewarded with some unique opportunities for celebration and learning. Brandy said one of her favorite experiences so far this year was a Thanksgiving meal her students helped prepare and enjoy.
“The students were in charge of making all the sides and desserts. They cooked all day and we sat together as a class family and had lunch together,” she said.
Speaking to educators like Brandy showcases exactly why D38 is such a special place to be. Our educators approach each year with vigor and tackle tough challenges with innovative solutions.
“This school district and our people are pretty exceptional. The people, the professionals that are here, the parents I work with, the peer tutors who come to my class and our service providers. The successes we’ve had in the classroom, it takes a village. I have been offered positions elsewhere, but I stay because of the people. My students are exactly the people that I love and the people that I want to be around and choose to be around,” Brandy explained.
Brandy’s words helped me understand her perspective and they fuel my desire to fight for each and every student and each and every staff member. I hope you will continue to follow our educator spotlights and engage with us as we work toward our goals as a district.
This article was originally published in the Gazette Tribune as part of a running series in partnership with Lewis-Palmer School District 38. Tap here to see the article.