New Maryland Elementary School Staff, National Inclusive Education Award Recipients for 2021

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Melissa Garrett, Elise Deering, and Tom Patterson

Building an inclusive learning environment is a team effort at New Maryland Elementary School. And in the case of one student and his mother Rachelle, the team of Melissa Garrett (teacher), Tom Patterson (guidance), and Elise Deering (resource teacher) has made all the difference.

Prior to attending New Maryland Elementary, Rachelle’s son (aged 6) had experienced some difficulties in his previous school. With the arrival of the pandemic and its associated lockdowns, it became too much. Rachelle knew she needed to find a school better suited to support the needs of her son. At the advice of friends, she enrolled her son in New Maryland Elementary School. Despite complications brought on by COVID-19, the school’s guidance team worked with her to smooth the transition to a new school and provide new opportunities for her son.

Over the past year, Rachelle has seen a remarkable improvement in her son and his desire to be at school – this she credits to the support he has received from the educational team.

“He’s now a happy soon-to-be seven-year-old. He can participate in class and engage in group activities. He has friends. He feels as though he is part of the class and no longer singled out. He remains in French. He is offered every opportunity without bias,” said Rachelle. “I am forever grateful for this team.”

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