Katy special education teacher stays connected with students during COVID-19 crisis

A special needs teacher in Katy is going above and beyond to connect with her students during this pandemic. As we know, keeping kids' attention "in class" can be tough enough but one special education teacher is being praised by parents for the work she’s doing with kids "online".

"It says this is a reminder to look under the discussions tab,” smiles Seven Lakes High School Special Education Teacher Shawnie Simon as she talks with her student via computer.

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Teaching virtually instead of in the flesh, Miss Simon's students still get to see her face. "I love Miss Simon,” smiles 18-year-old Morgan Schexnayder but parents say it’s Miss Simon's heart they now see clearly.

"It’s more than just a job for her. She is truly gifted in what she does. I’m just glad she entered into our lives. I’m grateful,” says Morgan’s Mom Melissa Sanders as she chokes back tears.

"I’m always thinking in my mind what else can I do to make this child understand. I always kind of put myself in their shoes,” says Miss Simon. The Katy ISD teacher has been an educator for 24 years. Some of her parents are amazed at how she's keeping their kids interested as classes are now held online.

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“I’m a quirky teacher. I always try to teach outside the box,” smiles Miss Simon. How’s this for outside the box? Sometimes her dog helps with the days lesson. “He makes them laugh. I always want to see my students happy. Growing up I didn’t really have positive teachers and I vowed then I would always make my students feel special, feel loved".

”When I need help or I don’t understand something she walks me through it step by step and makes it easier for me to understand. She’s so attentive to my needs,” says Schexnayder who has dyslexia.  

Schexnayder’s mom watched her daughter struggle to learn and she says she's grateful Miss Simon is making so much time for her students every day.

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“She herself has two seniors that are graduating. They’re a set of twins they’re getting ready to go to the Navy and in the midst of that she’s still sacrificing and making sure we’re all good,” says Sanders.

Miss Simon sounds like one special teacher indeed. She has this encouragement, to get kids through the rest of this unusual school year. "You don’t have much longer. You can do this. Don’t give up".