We the undersigned would like to nominate Mr. Brett Taylor, special education teacher at Farmington Elementary for the KSL Teacher Feature of the Week.
Mr. Taylor is an exceptionally gifted teacher, because of a unique combination of skills and attributes which he offers, without reservation or boundaries, to his special needs students and their families. He does, in a very literal way, does whatever it takes to insure that his students are successful and are making progress towards their IEP goals.
• Mr. Taylor attends his student’s extracurricular activities on his own time to better understand their interests and needs, while encouraging them in their outside activities. For example, one afternoon after school, Brett showed up at one of his student’s horse therapy session to see Ben ride his favorite horse, Cinnamon.
• Mr. Taylor is an excellent communicator with parents and family to ensure that families and the school are working together at maximum effectiveness to help ensure each student’s success.
• This outstanding teacher is willing to meet early before school, late after school, or on weekends, to make sure plans and programs for each student are the best they can be.
• His advocacy for his students with the school administration and the school district, in terms of meeting student needs and solving student problems, is exceptional. Mr. Taylor’s focus is on his students’ needs, rather than on political correctness or protocol or even the potential personal career risk he might incur.
• Mr. Taylor truly cares about his students and celebrates with them in their progress and success. He goes the extra miles in communicating through telephone, email, photos, and text messages to families, so that they might also share in their student’s personal and academic successes at school.
• Mr. Taylor is tenacious in solving problems, for which normal students are no big, deal, but for special needs children (i.e. autism spectrum disorders, Downs Syndrome, behaviorally or learning disabled) can be a huge challenge. One example is when Mr. Taylor immediately grasped the scope of the problem of an autistic boy having to ride a school bus for 75 to 90 minutes, after a long day at school. Mr. Taylor was able to assist and the travel time for this student was able to be cut in half.
Other parents of Mr. Taylor’s students have said the following:
• Mr. Taylor has shown kindness, patience and effort, more than any other teacher my son has ever had. Brett always reaches out to me regarding my son, Lars’s development goals and challenges he faces on a daily basis. I feel that Brett uses a real team approach to his teaching methods. I am grateful for all that Mr. Taylor does with my son and his class.
• Our family feels incredibly fortunate that our son has been placed in Brett Taylor’s class. The difference Mr. Taylor’s teaching has made for our family in just a few short weeks is tremendous. For over a year and a half our autistic son’s behavior and quality of life have been deteriorating dramatically. Going to Mr. Taylor’s class each day has changed that situation very quickly. Our son’s aggression has decreased drastically. He is excited to get on the bus each morning and it is obvious that he feels happy and secure in his new class. He is making significant progress at home and at school as a result of the confidence he feels in the classroom setting. At home he has been happier and much more responsive in the few weeks since he started school than he has been in a very long time. He is making more progress in self-care skills and becoming more verbally responsive since starting school in Mr. Taylor’s class. From many sources I have been hearing reports of Mr. Taylor’s excellence and I can certainly attest it is true. It was obvious from the moment I walked into his classroom that his students feel loved and secure, and they love Mr. Taylor and the aids in the class. Mr. Taylor has created an environment of security for my son where he feels safe and confident and is able to flourish. Mr. Taylor is a truly excellent teacher.
A day in any special education classroom can be physically demanding and emotionally exhausting for the teacher and the aides. The parents of Mr. Taylor’s students consider him to be a real hero in the truest sense. He maintains momentum forward for each child, and maintains his enthusiasm each day to the wonder and marvel of the families of his students.
We believe he is very deserving of careful consideration to be on of KSL’s Teacher Feature recipients.
–Jim Cobb (nomination originator)