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Well-versed Special Education teacher, Allison Shade, joins AHS faculty

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Well-versed Special Education teacher, Allison Shade, joins AHS faculty

AHS's new Special Education teacher, Allison Shade

AHS's new Special Education teacher, Allison Shade

Photo courtesy of Allison Shade

AHS's new Special Education teacher, Allison Shade

Photo courtesy of Allison Shade

Photo courtesy of Allison Shade

AHS's new Special Education teacher, Allison Shade

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From Pennsylvania to Africa to Colorado, Allison Shade is bringing new perspectives and experience to Aspen High School’s Special Education department.

In recent weeks, Aspen High School’s faculty welcomed Shade, a new Special Education teacher who works in a learning support classroom to help kids that need extra assistance. Shade has a unique mindset on teaching from years of studying and working with children globally, and she aims to build relationships with her students inside and outside of the classroom.

Shade wants to be someone that her students can confide in, rather than just a teacher. This is how Shade believes she can make the most difference in her students’ lives.

“I think just really building that relationship with them and being a positive role model for them, both inside and outside of the classroom so that they have somebody that they can trust and come to for support, whether it’s academic or social, inside or outside of the school, like I said, so that they feel confident enough to succeed with their academics,” Shade said.

This firm belief in being a positive role model for her students comes from years of experience and learning. Shade, a Pennsylvania native, went to college in Pittsburgh with a dual major in early childhood education and Special Education, and a minor in adaptive physical activity. After graduating, she moved to Africa for a year where she was an English teacher to isiZulu speaking children. Shade then moved to Colorado where she was the lead preschool teacher at the Children’s Rocky Mountain School and a ski coach for Challenge Aspen.

It wasn’t until Shade moved back to Pittsburgh to take a long-term sub position in a high school life skills and autistic support classroom that she discovered her passion for Special Education. At this time, she completed her masters in Special Education with an emphasis on Autism. She then worked in middle school life skills and autistic support classroom before applying to work at AHS.

“She has great enthusiasm. [Shade] understands what kids need and how to meet them where they are, and I’m really excited to have her as a team member here: teaching and supporting kids,” AHS Vice Principal, Sarah Strassburger said.

Strassburger also feels that Shade’s experience living and working in the valley enables her to connect with the community of AHS. Her extensive experience in other places is just as beneficial.

“It’s always nice to get a little bit of an outside perspective to come to a school and maybe see things that we haven’t,” Strassburger said.

The administration was not alone in justifying Shade’s rightful employment. Two of her students confirmed that Shade is a positive role model and helps them succeed more in school. She helps them with problems they have with classwork, staying focused, and making up absent work.

Shade plays an important role in the lives of students that need extra help. The Special Education department is a valuable part of AHS.

“It’s really important that we meet the needs of all students and ensure everyone’s success: understanding that we are all unique individuals and there’s no one way to be a student,” Strassburger said.

With her experience and enthusiastic aspirations, Shade plans to do just that – work towards the success of every student.

“The students on my caseload are wonderful and I’m looking forward to what’s ahead,” Shade said.

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