CI Hero: Tremont Middle School instructors persevere through the COVID-19 learning environment

CI Heroes

TREMONT, Ill. (WMBD) — All month long through our CI Heroes series we’re highlighting central Illinois educators. This week CI Heroes are a band director and an eighth-grade language arts teacher from Tremont Middle School.

Middle schooler woodwinds, brass, and percussion players practice socially distanced outside of Tremont Middle School.

“It’s been a little difficult, but well worth it, you know, when we shut down everything in March and April it’s really hard to do this over the computer, so I’m really glad we’re able to be in person.”

Band director Dave Hillrich

The veteran band director has taught for more than two decades. He said COVID-19 has posed unique obstacles for musical education.

“When we were online in the spring, kids really struggled with trying to play their music and just not having their peers with them…when you’re all together in a group, even if you’re distanced, it really helps with hearing the music and being able to make music more effectively,” said Mr. Hillrich.

Down the hall, Mrs. Henry’s eighth-grade language arts class learned about the infamous five-paragraph essay.

“We teach all day in our classrooms like we normally would, then we hop online with our virtual learners and then we also couple that with our quarantine learners who might be in and out of the classroom because of their exposure to the coronavirus,” said Karlyn Henry.

Mrs. Henry is retiring this year after 34 years of educating. She said she hopes her students know their value.

“I try to push my students a little bit out of their comfort zone so that they can take the strategies that they find to be successful, put them in their toolbox, and then they can use in future situations.”

Mrs. Henry

Both educators said COVID-19 has presented hurdles, but with supportive administration, a community, and students, each agreeing with the experience is a lesson in resiliency. Tremont schools are in person five days a week.

Nominate a teacher or staff member in your school district to be our next CI Hero. Fill it out the submission form and press send!

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