Lakewood elementary school teachers deliver books to kids during remote learning

First grade teachers Nicole Andregg and Patricia Birch found a way to stay connected to their students.

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — This year, the school year is unprecedented, and different on so many levels for everyone, including teachers.

Two first-grade teachers, from Hayes Elementary School in Lakewood, found a way to bridge the gap and connect with kids, through reading.

When their students started the school year off remotely, Nicole Andregg and Patricia Birch knew many of their students didn’t have what they needed.

“We also knew that a lot of kids don’t have books in their hands all the time. So we thought, ‘why don’t we just start a bookmobile?’ We can deliver books to children and say hi to them. And they’ll get to see our faces and have a little special treat from us,” Patricia said.

“They’re just smiling and beaming and we are, too,” Nicole echoed.

Teaming up on such a meaningful project is second nature to Nicole Andregg and Patricia Birch. They’re colleagues and close friends of many years, and they thrive in their students’ happiness and success.

“They start out as beginning readers. And by the end of the year, you really see them flourish, and them having books in their hands is such an important piece of that. So, with them not being able to come in the classroom, we found a lot of value in making that connection with them and putting those books in their hands for them,” Nicole said.

They’re not the only ones reaching out.

“There are so many teachers in our district that are doing special things to make that connection and reach out with their kids,” Nicole told us.

And the adorable, smiling faces who greet them should know that their teachers, who work so hard for their education, also love them like their own.

“They mean the world to us. My students mean everything. I’m love being their teacher. I love them. I take care of them all day,” Nicole said.

“I tell my students on the first day, I love them, the minute they walk in the door, and that love just grows. And when you’re a teacher, your heart just gets bigger and bigger every year. They bring so much joy to us and we hope that we can bring that same joy back to them,” Patricia said.

There will be no more book drops this year as Lakewood Public Schools prepares to go back to in-person learning. But one thing is for sure, those students will still feel that love.

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