Nolan Elementary CDC Teachers Jeanne Manley & Amber Napier help children find their gifts

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Updated: 8/13/2012 4:34 pm
In the last three years WDEF News 12 has recognized dozens of accomplished teachers doing great things in our classrooms.

But none of those teachers do it by themselves.

Jeanne Manley & Amber Napier are this week's Golden Apple winners.

A handful of smiling students dance and sing, "January, February, March, April..."

It's part of Amber Napier's Kindergarten through 2nd grade Comprehensive Developmental Classroom at Nolan Elementary, "To me they're just typical developing children and they just need a little more attention."

Each of the kids has some sort of learning roadblock. Ms. Napier says it's her job to help see what they can accomplish, "It's all about the small victories..."

They start in Ms. Napier's class, but they finish in Jeanne Manley's 3rd through 5th grade CDC class.

Ms. Manley says, "I love being able to take a student where they are, on their level and help move them forward."

Together Ms. Manley, Ms. Napier and six teaching assistants create individual lesson plans for more than a dozen students. And to the parents of these kids the lessons they teach are magical.

Cheryl Graham looks on as her husband Dick reads from their Golden Apple nomination letter, "These two teachers and their aids work miracles every day that the community never sees."

Dick and Cheryl's son Alex is one of those miracles... He has Autism.

When Alex came to Nolan Elementary 6 years ago he didn't speak. The Grahams say these teachers and their assistants helped the 5th grader find his gifts.

Dick says, "Alex reads, he writes, the computer he loves that, he can do almost anything on that, he's social... All the things that frankly when he was 4 & 5 years old we wondered if he would ever be able to do."

Cheryl agrees, "It gives you hope where you didn't have hope before."

Ms. Manley says those are the rewards you get from helping these kids learn, "I think every teacher probably finds success taking their kids from where they are and moving them forward."

Ms. Napier says it's part of the joy of watching them grow, "You just fall in love with them..."
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