The 2020-2021 school year presented many challenges for our alumni. Remote learning, hybrid learning, and social distancing all affected our students’ use of self-advocacy skills. Special Services Coordinator Carrie Jackiewicz reported that several mainstream teachers commented that the in-person alumni were not interacting as much with their peers due to COVID-19 protocols. Other teachers noted that students were not reporting problems with their devices when they were at home because they could tell their parents.

However, the numbers show that our alumni did make progress with their skills over the course of the year, Jackiewicz says. Almost all of the students showed growth in the various skills on the chart. Teachers shared different comments about how students’ independence with these skills had grown. One teacher shared how her student became more comfortable using his Assistive Listening Device (FM or RM system) after not using it since March 2020.

This year Jackiewicz completed 38 observations, 27 remotely and 11 in-person. She found some changes to schools that were notable. On the positive side, she noted that teachers were using more visuals in their teaching, not only in remote learning, but in in-person learning as well. They shared their screens to show materials, they used videos with captions, and they used computers and tablets in the classrooms to provide structure and support. Our alumni benefit from as many visuals as possible, so Jackiewicz was grateful to see teachers incorporating them in their classrooms.

One drawback she found from her observations was that classrooms had more background noise from HVAC systems running constantly, or from air cleaning systems. Thankfully the majority of our students use RM (remote microphone) systems, which help decrease background noise.

If you have any questions about these results, please feel free to contact Carrie Jackiewicz at cjackiewicz@childsvoice.org.