The student news site of Fraser High School

The Flash

The student news site of Fraser High School

The Flash

The student news site of Fraser High School

The Flash

Exceptional Educator in Fraser Community

Pictured here is Ms. McNamara (left) with her students in front of their classroom.

Ms. Alyssa McNamara, a teacher at Edison Elementary School, has made a lasting impression on her students and the Fraser community. Ms. McNamara has adroitly taught the cognitively impaired (CI) students at Edison since 2020. She has initiated many programs and brought many new activities to the CI class since she began teaching.

She puts a lot of time and effort into making sure that her students get the education they need. She believes that it is important for the CI kids to learn life skills that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Ms. McNamara incorporates a cooking class into her lessons once a week. She also gives the kids an opportunity to go out in the community and acquire the skills that are needed in the real world. Toward the end of the year, she takes her kids on a walk to Schott’s Market to exercise the abilities they are developing.

“My students need a lot more help and practice with basic life skills, so like navigating the community and crossing streets and that kind of stuff. We pre-teach all of that, like how to appropriately walk in the community and [follow] street signs,” McNamara said.

Story continues below advertisement

She is always trying to make her kids’ experiences better.

“Ms. McNamara always thinks outside the box and knows exactly what students need to be successful,” said Mrs. Amy Cabe, one of the first grade teachers at Edison.

Ms. McNamara also tries to get her students involved in the general education classrooms. She wants her students to mix in with the other students from their own grade level.

“I’m really big on pushing inclusion, so all my kids go to specials and lunch and recess with their general education peers. I think that it’s very important to allow the students to build and form those relationships,” McNamara said.

She is helping to build the school community and make sure everyone feels welcome and included.

She believes that mixing the kids together has made a difference for everyone. Her CI kids have been able to step outside their box and be themselves around more people. The general education students have also benefited from having a leadership role around the CI kids, and they have been able to learn how to accept people who are not exactly like them.

“We’ve had some [general education] kids that sometimes might find themselves getting into trouble. Last year, we had them in our classroom as peer role models to give them that positive leadership role, and we saw a really big difference in their behavior,” McNamara said.

Ms. McNamara shows her genuine passion for her job to everyone, not just her own students.

“Her love and dedication for all of Edison’s students is apparent,” Cabe said.

Having the general education students and the CI students interact more often has proven to be mutually beneficial for both sets of kids.

The CI students have really grown since the introduction of the new activities and programs in their classroom.

“I just love seeing their confidence, and I think that every kid, every person, has a unique perspective and skills to offer. Helping them channel those things and find what they’re good at and seeing them build the confidence within themselves is huge. Through that, I feel like we really strengthen our relationships too,” McNamara said.

Since she has had the same kids for the past few years, Ms. McNamara feels like she has grown a lot with her students.

Ms. McNamara wanted to become a CI teacher because she was very familiar with children that have special needs. Her younger brother has severe autism, and her experiences with him inspired her to become a teacher for cognitively impaired students.

She is very happy in the position she is in today. She enjoys her time with her kids and appreciates the joy they bring to her life.

Her impact on the Edison community is obvious.

“Ms. McNamara is an inspiration for her students and colleagues alike…I am lucky to work beside Ms. McNamara and enjoy watching her students shine,” Cabe said.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Flash Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *