DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A whiteboard, composition notebook, markers, pencils and fidget widgets.
These are the types of supplies Kylie Bennett says her students with special needs need for online learning.
“Staring at a screen, having eye contact all of the time can be really difficult,” she said. “It helps for them to have something more concrete to work with.”
However, as a Teach for America teacher at KIPP Destiny Middle School in south Oak Cliff, sadly most started the year without. Knowing many of her families could not afford these supplies, she started a fundraiser online and in just a few weeks was able to raise $1,500, enough for 62 kits.
She spent the holiday weekend hand-delivering them.
“They’re excited about school again and just being able to bring that joy that we bring in the classroom virtually has been a really great opportunity,” she said.
Bennett said as the year goes on there will be other challenges, a big one being mental health.
“Teach for America has tried to support their teachers with virtual zoom sessions – with trainings on specific things,” she said.
On top of this, she says her school has hired a social worker and counselor who will be able to address any needs.
With a classroom of mostly minority students, Bennett said her students have also been affected by the Black Lives Matter movement.
She has created a club called the “Social Justice Club” which has become a place to learn about the activists throughout history and how they can get involved in shaping their community.