Golden Apple: Mrs. Nan Ryan

Updated: Feb. 24, 2021 at 9:45 PM CST
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HARAHAN, La. (WVUE) - Mrs. Nan Ryan teaches visually impaired students at Harahan Elementary School and is not letting the pandemic and the challenges that come with it get her students off track.

“Because she ordered the Braille equipment and she ordered a lot of stuff so we can get better,” says Dennis Bodden.

Dennis is a fourth grader at Harahan Elementary School and one of Mrs. Ryan’s students.

Mrs. Ryan started teaching in the 1990s. It was her way of giving back after overcoming her own childhood learning struggles.

“I, myself, did not learn to read or write until I was in the third grade,” says Ryan. “And I didn’t want children to have to go through what I went through, basically, what I went through.”

And recently, she started teaching students with visual impairments.

“That meant additional training for herself, whether it was professional development offered by our district or seeking training on her own. She just made it happen,” says principal Stephanie Scott.

Mrs. Ryan’s students are in kindergarten through the sixth grade and have varying levels of visual impairments. That means each student has different learning needs.

When the pandemic hit, Mrs. Ryan says it took her a minute to kick back into gear to ensure her students didn’t fall behind academically or otherwise.

“Doing errands, answering the telephone, be able to walk on the sidewalk, safely across the street. These are things that are not typically taught,” says Ryan.

With the help of school and district administrators, she applied for a grant to get devices called Braille Trails for each child.

“With that, they have the same access to the internet sites, to Google classrooms, to Google docs, to Excel spreadsheets,” says Ryan.

Scott says she admires Mrs. Ryan’s passion to help kids succeed.

“For her to be able to design lessons for all of them and cater to the needs of all of them in different content areas with different abilities, I was quite impressed,” says Scott.

And Ryan’s students, like Dennis, are grateful to have Mrs. Ryan in their corner.

“I just want to say thank you for the Braille equipment because I can’t wait to take it home,” says Dennis.

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