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Timber Ridge Middle School EL teachers spread cheer to students at home

(from left) Timber Ridge Middle School eighth-grader Jonathan Vera accepts a gift from English Language teachers Yolanda Pulido and Betsy Williams at his house on Wednesday, December 8, 2020. The EL teachers visited the homes of all their students – 48 in all- to let them know they care about them and to say thanks for their hard work during remote learning. Timber Ridge Middle School English Language teachers Betsy Williams and Yolanda Pulido recently visited their 48 students to drop off holiday goodies as part of their Teacher on a Mission: Operation Smile outreach.

Pulido dressed as an elf and decorated her car with ribbons and signs, while Williams donned a festive headband to make deliveries.

The teachers usually do something fun in class for their students before winter break, Williams said.

The duo wanted to do something more this year because of remote learning, she said. The teachers started to see class participation wane as the holiday drew closer.

“The students were losing their drive, so I wanted to do something special for them,” Williams said.

They also wanted to make sure their students knew they cared about them.

“You really miss them,” Williams said. “We want to be back in the classroom so this would be the best way to make that connection again.”

The teachers dropped off gift bags with pencils, coloring books and other fun items. Each bag also included a personalized, handwritten note from each student’s respective teacher.

The next day students were thankful for the gift but were more excited about the personal visit, Pulido said.

“By the end of the day I felt like I needed it as much as the kids,” she said. “It was encouraging for us.”

Timber Ridge Assistant Principal Keith Holderman and Dean of Students Denise Bauer tagged along during the home visits.

Holderman, who oversees the Timber Ridge EL program worked with Pulido and Williams to make the visit happen.

Williams and Pulido wanted to visit their students to thank for them for their hard work during remote learning, he said.

“They also wanted to encourage students and say we are here for you and we are about you,” Holderman said.

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