During the 2015-2016 school year, Joe Beasley and Amanda Steeley, two teachers at Goochland Elementary School, both took time to meet with their principal, Tina McCay,  individually. They saw a greater vision for their students beyond the walls of their current classrooms…

Beasley was teaching 5th grade and had just received the honor of Teacher of the Year for Goochland County. In his classroom, he had taught Science and Global Explorations. But he wanted more: He wanted a classroom where he could work with one group of students, all day, on all subject areas. He wanted to create a family that would support and encourage one another to excel.

Steeley was teaching special education in a self-contained environment. At most, she had 5 students in her classroom. But after earning her master’s degree in special education, she wanted more: She wanted to reach the same students in an inclusive environment. To do this, she knew she would need to find a general education teacher who was receptive to collaborative teaching and utilizing Universal Design for Learning.

Beasley and Steeley were fortunate. Their principal, McCay, saw promise in their visions. Though Beasley and Steeley had not worked together and had only spoken a handful of times, they sought each other out because they recognized the energy and passion each held for teaching. With this knowledge, they proposed the idea of working together. With the support of their administration, the two began their journey into collaborative teaching with one important question used to drive their future behavior:

How can I help you? 

Please read the posts on this blog to learn more about how this question enhanced the growth of two teachers, and with any luck, their students, as well.