I am nominating Dr. Gershia Ardo, Exceptional Special Education Teacher of Math at the City of Pembroke Pines Charter Central Middle School for grades 6, 7, and 8 grades. For the sake of this nomination, I am focusing on my daughter who is an incoming sixth-grader under the ESE program. My daughter’s disability is single-sided deafness with ADD that resulted in deficiencies in reading and math. Dr. Ardo made transitioning from Elementary school to middle school along with my daughter’s challenges easier and more tolerable. During the 2019-2020 school year, Dr. Ardo developed a professional relationship with my daughter which later turned into a personal connection that allowed her to trust. This made it easier for my daughter to reach out to Dr. Ardo for assistance outside the math class when needed. To explain, Pembroke Pines Charter Middle School Central (PPCMSC) has developed a program that will help the ESE students before school starts in all subjects with missed assignments or additional help to give the needed support. Now what was normal and consistent at my daughter’s school has changed in March 2020 into the new normal distant learning because of the closing of schools. During this COVID 19 pandemic, it has been overwhelming to the ESE students as well as the ESE teachers. Along with all the teachers, Dr. Ardo had to learn ZOOM and how to navigate within ZOOM to reach out to her students collectively and individually. During my daughter’s live Zoom classes which operate as (inclusion), Dr. Ardo is presently supporting the Math teacher and the students especially the ESE students. She echoes what the math teacher instructs in a language that my daughter understands. Moreover, with distant learning, the teachers have shorter office hours that are during the school days of 9 AM to 12 PM. My daughter was struggling with a math assignment that I couldn’t help her with. As you know, many of the parents are now homeschooling, I digress. My daughter reached out to Dr. Ardo after 4 PM and asked for help and less than 10 minutes that same evening, a Zoom invite was received. With great relief and pride, I watched Dr. Ardo engage and help my daughter on Zoom one-to-one that I almost forgot that it was distant learning. Our ESE staff go over and beyond to keep that connection with our students. This is why I am nominating Dr. Ardo for her outstanding performance during this 2019-2020 school year.
I am thankful to Broward County ESE Department and ESLS DHH Teacher Tanquyen Nguyen for being a great support for my daughter during this COVID 19 and closing of the schools.