Lucerny Guzman has worked at Salomé Ureña de Henríquez Campus in Washington Heights for 8 years as an eighth grade English and Social Studies teacher, while also overseeing the after-school adolescent literacy program.
During the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lucerny and her staff worked diligently to make sure every student had access to a device and Wi-Fi access so they would not miss a class.
Lucerny works in integrated co-teaching classrooms, which include students with and without Individualized Learning Plans. In addition to her classes, she supervises eight educators who provide additional literacy support to 41 students in sixth and eighth grades.
They realized that connectivity was not the only issue families were working to tackle. Lucerny and her staff stepped up to help families experiencing job loss and food insecurity as a result of the pandemic.
They put together an extensive resource document with information about how to access food and healthcare. Lucerny also makes sure to check in with her students every day, especially because many express feeling anxious due to the lack of face-to-face interactions with friends and educators.
Despite the hurdles, Lucerny and her staff acknowledge the benefits of remote learning.
“Some highlights we've experienced during remote learning have been assisting students with their academics to see positive improvements in the consistency and quality in their work,” Lucerny said. “We have also been successful in providing social and emotional support to both the participants and their families.”
Time management is crucial for students who are juggling multiple classes and responsibilities at home. Lucerny and her team have used their strong relationships with students to make sure that as remote learning continues, students stick to a schedule.
“My staff has been really amazing in that they hit the ground running with switching to remote after school learning and just adjusting to all the changes,” Lucerny said. “Most important is their connections with the students – they are consistent with their communications and making sure that they are following up with those that express specific needs.”
When students do go back to school, Lucerny is looking forward to incorporating more technology into the classroom.
“We will continue to incorporate interesting and fun ways to embed technology and multiple forms of expression for students,” she said.