Ely Teacher wins national award for sensory classroom
ELY, MN. (KBJR) - An Ely special education teacher is getting a custom-made sensory classroom for her students.
She won the award because of a nomination letter from one parent who said she “saved her life.”
Micah Perry’s pediatrician said her son would grow out of his non-speaking phase.
“Maybe this is a me thing, I’ll keep working with him,” she said, “with autism it doesn’t matter, that isn’t going to change anything.”
After several visits to the dcotor, her son Gnarr was diagnosed with autism, but a week later she met Kelsey Borchert.
“There was this beautiful lady with the most adorable daughter,” Perry said.
Borchert teachers early childhood special education at Washington Elementary in Ely. Perry said the first time she met Borchert her son felt comfortable.
“And she was absolutely amazing,” Perry said.
Because, in the past, most teachers Gnarr had weren’t like her.
“She talked to my son instead of over my son or about my son.” she said, “she spoke to him.”
Borchert teaches a group of kids with mental and physcial disabilities, like autism.
“I have an amazing job, I really do,” Borchert said.
Perry wanted to recognize her for that amazing job. She wrote a letter as part of a contest to get a custom-made sensory room for students.
“They read the letter and it made me cry because it was super sweet,” Borchert said.
Borchert was chosen as one of three teachers nationwide who won the “More Than a Teacher” Award which gives three special education teachers sensory equipment for their schools.
“Things that help kids calm down, things that help kids wake up and get ready for their day,” she said.
It will feature lights, climbing walls, swings and more. Sensory equipment can help kids with different abilities learn more.
Perry said it will help Gnarr.
“A room like this gives him an opportunity to be in a place where can be comfortable,” she said.
Borchert says Gnarr is the one who helped other kids by getting this room.
“It’s really cool that he can silently advocate for him and other kiddos because that’s what you need, you need people are going to fight and push the boundary,” she said.
The More Than Project was founded in 2021 to help support teachers, caregivers and more who work with kids and adults with special needs.
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