HONOLULU (KHON2) — The COVID-19 pandemic added a whole new challenge for many teachers throughout the state. However, one special education teacher made it easier to both teach and learn virtually, and she is now getting recognition for her efforts.
Kanoelani Elementary teachers, staff and students came together to honor teacher Jenna Oskey.
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“She was able to mentor teachers, she stepped up to be a grade level chair when the previous one let unexpectedly and she created systems to be able to support all of our special education teachers,” said Stacie Kunihisa, Kanoelani Elementary School principal.
Not only that, Kunihisa said Oskey also developed digital learning platforms and even built a website to store virtual lessons for students to access at home.
The Hawaii Milken Teacher of promise award is only given to new teachers who go above and beyond in their position.
“The picture that pops into my mind right when the COVID pandemic hit us, is she sat in her living room and she said we got this, we can figure this out, and we will be sure that our kids get a good education,” said Kunihisa. “She absolutely deserves this award.”
“The fact that I was nominated for this was an honor. I honestly didn’t think I’d win, I had no idea, completely surprised,” said Oskey.
Oskey, who moved from the mainland to Hawaii just last year to teach at Kanoelani Elementary School, said she couldn’t have done it alone.
“COVID hit, its been so new so all the teachers have taken a completely different turn to help support our students,” said Oskey.
However, Oskey said this isn’t the end. She will continue to work hard to improve student-teacher communication.
“Even after this we’re going to go back, and it’s going, I don’t want to say the same thing, (because) its going to be different but we’re still going to be working with those students and helping them as much as we can and finding new ways to support them,” Oskey.
Along with the award, she will also take home $1,000.