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'She just loves it': Boise kindergarten teacher connects with students online

Ashley Phillips says the kinder team at Shadow Hills Elementary School has put together an engaging plan for remote learning.

BOISE, Idaho — Even with many school districts starting the year online in response to the coronavirus pandemic, instructors across Idaho are continuing to go above and beyond for the students they teach.

One such educator is Ashley Phillips, who teaches full-day kindergarten at Shadow Hills Elementary School in Boise. 

Her students, like kindergartner Autumn Butner, are a fan of her dynamic style.

"I like when she teaches me," Autumn explains.

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From home visits to online instruction to traditional workbooks, Phillips is happy to still be making personal connections with her students.

"They'll sign off and they'll be like 'I love you Mrs. Phillips,'" she said. "That makes me happy, because it makes me think 'OK, we're doing something. We're still building those relationships even though it's through a computer.'"

But Phillips says she couldn't get the job done without her team, the other kindergarten teachers at Shadow Hills.

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"We plan together, we're all on the same page and we're all supportive of each other, so I think that is huge," Phillips said.

Autumn's mom, Amy Butner, says she's been really happy with how Phillips has pulled everything together for this unusual start.

"It's been a lot better than what I thought it was going to be," Butner said.
"They're not just sitting staring at the screen. There's lots of hands-on and interaction and it's not just playing the learning video games. I mean, she just loves it."

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Still, Butner can't wait to have Autumn join her teacher in the classroom. Phillips can't either. In the meantime, everyone is just doing the best they can.

"I like where we're going, and hopefully we can get into the classrooms sooner rather than later if it's safe to do so," Phillips said.

If you would like to nominate a teacher that is going above and beyond right now send us an email to innovativeeducator@ktvb.com. Educators, for more information on submitting an application for a classroom grant through the Idaho CapEd Foundation visit www.capedfoundation.org.

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