PSEA: Educating our future

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PSEA members are working together to educate our future

PSEA’s 178,000 members – teachers, school nurses, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, school psychologists, and more – are proud to work in public education. And they’re dedicated to helping students learn. Every day, they enter their schools and classrooms ready to encourage, nurture, and excite their students – one mind at a time.

Hear Eileen's Story

Third-grade teacher brings back pen pals

Eileen Seitz, a third-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary in Bethlehem School District, decided to keep her students connected the old-fashioned way – with a Pen Pals program.

Almost immediately after schools closed last March, Seitz wrote and mailed letters to each of her students and included paper and a self-addressed stamped envelope so anyone who wanted could write back to her.
Her Pen Pals program was an instant hit, with 18 of her 21 students writing back.

“They shared all about what they were experiencing during this time with COVID-19, and how they were dealing at home with their siblings and managing the online work. So it was really, really special,” Seitz said. “I just wanted to let my kids know that I was thinking of them, and I would always be there for them.”

Not only did the project give kids something fun to look forward to that wasn’t screen-based, it also reinforced writing lessons from earlier in the year when Seitz taught her students how to write a friendly letter.
Seitz continues to interact with her students during online classes but said the Pen Pal project really helped bridge the gap in the uncertainty of those early months.

“I think it was also a nice way to stay in touch with the classroom because then when we did meet on Zoom we were talking about the letters that we were sending back and forth,” she said. “So it just gave students another way to stay engaged during a really difficult time.”

Hear Wendy's Story

School Nurses, COVID-19, and Going Above and Beyond to Keep School Safe

Wendy Robison, a school nurse in Western Beaver County School District, has been a leader in Beaver County’s efforts to keep schools safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her goal? To make sure “every child succeeds” – no matter what.

Working with school staff, medical professionals, and community leaders in her county, she has helped to provide comprehensive information and plans to school staff.

“I’ve learned more about the virus than I ever thought I could,” Robison said. “I’ve learned how valuable our public education system is and how much work everyone has done.”

When the pandemic began in the spring, Robison collaborated with her superintendent, reached out to all other districts in the county, and raided the supplies of masks, gowns, goggles, and gloves from science rooms, maintenance, and nursing offices to deliver them to a local hospital.

After that, Robison’s primary mission was to look at all of the information and evidence she could find about COVID-19 and help shape the best way to teach and serve kids – while reducing health risks.

“We’ve researched everything – evidence based practices,” she said. “And we chose things that were supported by research.”

She helped to create a vast folder of all the research she could find from different states, the CDC, the WHO, and the DOH and tried to fit that information into the educational system, working to look at the broad picture, and gathering as many people’s ideas as possible.

“We’ll get past this eventually, but it’s going to take everyone’s effort to get past it. The educational process is so important to the future.”

Hear Nick's Story

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Learning Lessons: Great ideas, Great schools

PSEA produces an online video series that features Pennsylvania educators who are making a difference in the lives of students with creative or innovative educational programs.