JCPS teachers prepare for challenges and joys of new school year - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS teachers prepare for challenges and joys of new school year

Posted: Updated: Aug 15, 2017 08:48 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Nearly 100,000 JCPS students return to the classrooms on Wednesday. But in some schools, educating students is only part of the job.

Stephen Foster Traditional Academy is one of those schools. It is located in west Louisville and home to several hundred children from low-income families.

That's why teachers there are expected to be more than just educators.

"I'll have to make sure every student has a nameplate on their desk," said Phyllis Helm, a teacher at Stephen Foster. "And I teach students with emotional behavior disabilities."

Helm is one of several thousand JCPS employees who spent Tuesday preparing for the first day of school.

"This year, my goal, my theme, is be your own super hero," she said.

Helm has been in the classroom for nearly 30 years, and she has learned there's more to being an educator than just teaching students reading, writing and arithmetic.

"Not only do I teach them academically, but I teach them social skills as well so they can be productive members of society," Helm said.

After a few years of low moral, the school year will start with new excitement.

"I already see it with some of the teachers here," Helm said.

The excitement is surrounding interim superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio. He replaced longtime superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens, who resigned earlier this year.

"Some of them know him personally, and they're all excited about it, and that's contagious," Helm said.

Letish Young, a first-year principal at Stephen Foster, said that with some of the challenges facing students, the leadership within the schools is just a crucial.

"You can't put it all on one person," Young said. "At an individual school, it is important to support your teachers, support your families.

"We have children that come in hungry, children that come in needing assistance with clothing, backpacks, school supplies."

Helm  said she can handle the baggage, but she could also use a little help from home."

"Many times, it's having interaction with the parent or whoever is raising them at home," Helm said.

Related Stories:

JCPS interim superintendent outlines 3 goals before district starts classes Wednesday

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