Staying Connected throughout COVID

February 03, 2021 | Updated: February 04, 2021

Meet Liberty Middle School teacher Shelly Abel!

Shelly has been working in Liberty ISD for over 10 years and with Special Olympics Texas for the last two. On a daily basis, Shelly and her colleagues work to be inclusive and supportive to all students at LMS. We heard they were doing a really great job at staying Unified despite the challenges this year has thrown their way, so we wanted to learn a bit more.

Shelly, tell us a little about yourself.

I currently teach at Liberty Middle School in the Life Skills program. I have worked for Liberty ISD for 12 years and love my district. I recently became certified as an Educational Diagnostician. I am a single mom of older two teenage boys. My hobbies include working out, golfing, and volunteering with local agencies.

How has COVID-19 impacted your interactions with your students and/or athletes?

We have been able to focus more on health and safety with them. We have been able to learn the advantages of technology and all the various programs out there that help keep us connected. We have to remember that many of our families have been affected by our current situation so we have to be the light and show them how to find the positive parts of it.

In what ways has your classroom/school/district made an effort stay connected and Unified throughout this past year?

We are using technology more to stay connected when necessary. We have also tried to continue to be a part of school events. We hosted our Red Ribbon Week again this year by having activities with all our school during their lunch period. We kept our school up to date on UCS happenings through our Panther Press. We also focused on civic services in December.

What have you found most challenging about this past school year?

I found the most challenging has been teaching our students and ourselves to be more cognizant of staying healthy by wearing our mask and using hand sanitizer or washing our hands more and trying to keep our distance from each other. We have to just make this a team effort and everyone watches out for each other to help us remember.

Another challenge has been not being able to leave the school for field trips or travel for events. The virtual tournaments have really been a fun way around this and my students have continued to enjoy being a part of the sporting events.

What keeps you motivated?

Watching each one of my students reach their goals which many times are things we take for granted. The look on their faces when they make a basket, throw a ball, or able to do a push up. I love my job!

What advice do you have for other educators or for students?

Get involved! Even during our current circumstances by just thinking outside the box a little we can continue to work and have fun with UCS!

Anything else you'd like to add?

I have really enjoyed being a part of UCS, and meeting all the new people involved that have the same passion as myself. I hope to help our program grow throughout my district in the next few years.

Thank you to Shelly for sitting down (virtually) with us and to the amazing staff at Liberty Middle School dedicated to the Inclusion Revolution!