“I want to be a positive influence for students, a cheerleader, helping them to reach their full potential,” says Horizon Academy teacher, Gricelda Garcia. Garcia was deeply impacted by her teachers growing up and the care they put into her education. She wants to positively impact her students in a similar way, by helping them develop a love for learning.
Garcia began her teaching career at Fort Leavenworth Unified School District, where she taught elementary for 11 years. There, she saw many students with learning disabilities struggle with the curriculum. “I know how hard it can be for students with learning disabilities to keep up, let alone excel in the traditional classroom,” she shares.
Horizon Academy is the premiere school for students with language-based learning disabilities, which attracts experienced teachers like Garcia. She began as a Teacher’s Assistant and long-term substitute while Holly Hammond was on maternity leave. She also went through the extensive Orton-Gillingham and Multisensory Math training, which is integral to Horizon Academy’s educational practices.
At Horizon Academy, Garcia’s classroom is composed of 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders all with diagnosed learning disabilities like dyslexia, dysgraphia, and ADHD. There are many strategies and educational tools implemented in her classroom that specifically help these students. “At Horizon Academy, we are able to assess where a student is academically and work with them from there. There is no time crunch to push through the curriculum. Kids are allowed to set the pace of their own learning,” she says.
Garcia takes the time to understand each of her students' individual needs. She notes, “what works for one student, might not work for another, even if they have the same diagnosis.” Garcia also takes the time to encourage and build up her students' confidence in academics. She does this by taking notice and pointing out what her students are doing well. “I want my students to recognize what they do well, that way, when I do give them corrections, they know my correction is coming from a place of caring,” she explains.
Gricelda Garcia aims to be a positive influence on her young, impressionable students. She focuses on building relationships and providing them with the basis of knowledge they need to be successful. Just as her own teacher’s did for her, Gricelda is the kind of teacher who is going to make a difference in her students' lives.