Kerry Honerkamp is honored as WJBD-WSIQ first teacher of the week. Left to right: Franklin Park Principal Tyler Lux, District Director of Special Education Marita Williams, Honerkamp accepting the award plaque from WJBD-WSIQ General Manager Bruce Kropp, Superintendent Dr. Leslie Foppe, and Franklin Park Assistant Principal Alex Koebele.
An 8th Grade Special Education Teacher at Franklin Park School who continues to do special programs with her students despite the impact of COVID-19 is the first WJBD-WSIQ teacher of the week.
Kerry Honerkamp is quick to say she loves 8th graders and teenagers. She says it is so much fun to have a front-row seat to see them grow and to help them work through peer relationships and feel good about themselves while learning academically.
“I love being a Special Education teacher because I get to work with just a very unique and special group of students and their families. I love all the fun things we get to do in class. We get to work on a lot of life skills. COVID has kind of put a halt to some of the things. We do a Cats Coffee Cart where the kids run a business and make drinks for teachers. I’m hoping we can bring that back at some point. I just love helping kids grow and reach their potential while also getting them at this age to start thinking of the future like careers and life goals for themselves.”
Honerkamp’s goal is to build customer service skills and help the students learn to interact with adults in addition to their regular classroom work. And that is continuing in different ways with hurdles thrown up by COVID-19.
“It’s really fun integrating things on the chrome books. Such as practicing filling out job applications. Having students use their chrome books to look into careers they might be interested in and making it as fun as we can. I usually have a lot of people come in and talk about their career with our students and I’m hoping to continue to do that through Google Meets so that the community can still feel a part of the school and so my students can start learning about the different careers in Salem as well.”
Honerkamp is quick to say none of what she does would be possible without the entire team in the Salem Grade School District. She decided to return to school and become a teacher after watching Salem Grade School teachers interact with students while working as a speech therapist. After getting her special education endorsement she was able to return to the district she loved where she is in her fifth year as a teacher.
Salem Grade School Superintendent Dr. Leslie Foppe, the District Director of Special Education Marita Williams, Principal Tyler Lux and Assistant Principal Alex Koebele were all on hand to congratulate Honerkamp and praise her work.
Lux says they are super proud of the program she has built for the 8th-grade special education students. While she works with some students all day, others are in and out of her classroom for additional help.
“Kids are resilient and can adjust to what we have to do this year, but she’s done a tremendous job to make sure their needs are met and they aren’t falling behind. And maintaining that connection in person, she does Google Meets with them and lots of other ways. And she’s not afraid to just stop by their house and just have an interaction with them there too so she does a great job with that too.”
WJBD-WSIQ will be honoring a different teacher each week through the school year who is nominated by students, parents, or fellow faculty members. You can make a nomination by going to the homepage of WJBDradio.com and following the teacher of the week link.