SAN ANTONIO — After decades of recognizing and honoring our area teachers, our EXCEL Awards has reached a new milestone. For the first time in the program’s 22 year history, our EXCEL presentation is held virtually.
As you know, many school districts have not returned to in-person teaching yet. So our team at KENS 5 has decided to join them on the computer and continue to present the award under any circumstances. We are staying committed to honoring our educators who work so tirelessly.
Our first KENS 5 Credit Human EXCEL recipient this year is Boerne ISD’s Janna Clements from Voss Middle School.
“Janna, you won this in a year where everyone is a superstar because we’re showing up and doing everything,” said Superintendent Dr. Thomas Rice. ”But you, above and beyond. I love the relationships you make with your students, the connections, whether they’re virtual or in person. You make their day. You care about them and that’s what we want all our teachers to be. “
Everyone on the EXCEL awards presentation Zoom call, from the Superintendent, the Principal and even former students spoke tales of Janna Clements’ great work as a teacher.
Twins Kaylee and Christina Crank are in 11th grade at Champion High School. Mrs. Clements was their teacher back in middle school and they have never lost touch.
“She would stand out the hallway, no matter how early she got there and welcomed every single kid that walked by,”
“Even if they weren’t in the same grade, if she wasn’t teaching them, she’d go the extra mile to learn every single person’s name”
By the end of the school year, the girls recall, every student had fallen in love with Mrs. Clements, “She’s amazing. It really makes you feel special.”
And it seems nothing can stop Clements’ larger than life school spirit.
Pictures taken Pre-Pandemic and Pre-Social distancing days show just how close she was with her students. But even challenging times haven’t changed her attitude.
“I present my screen and as my students are physically walking in the room, I have a Bluetooth in my ear so they can log on and say hi Mrs. Clements.
I hear them in my ear. I have a little microphone to talk to them. As they come in, they have work to do but outside of them we are conversing almost as if they were in the classroom, only difference they are on a tripod on an iPad. “
Classes at Capt. Mark Tyler Voss Middle School look a lot different this year Clements explained.
“We wear masks. We sanitize after every single class. There is hand sanitizer everywhere. We social distance in the hallway as much as we can. A lot of safety precautions not here prior to Covid.”
Boerne ISD was among the first Texas school districts, to welcome students back to campus in August which means Clements is now juggling in-person and virtual learning simultaneously.
“Being more innovative, how can we include every student whether they’re in person or on-line and make education equitable,” Clements said, “I think were a lot more on our toes and we don’t know what tomorrow will bring literally.”
During her History lessons, her focus isn’t just on the 20 students sitting right in front of her but also on the ten children, joining them on the computer from their homes.
“I walked into her classroom last week and she’s running around,” Said Principal Hinojosa, “She’s got an iPad on a tripod, she’s got it in her hand, those e-learning students are with in person students, and they’re not missing a beat. “
As she learns the ropes of this new way of doing things, Clements also mentors new teachers. Though she’ll be the first to tell you, she relies on her colleagues just as much.
“Your colleagues, we’re all in it together and we’re experiencing the same things. Trouble shooting together, brainstorming together, and just being honest about what’s going on in the classroom,” Clements said, “it’s been challenging but so worth while too.
The KENS 5 EXCEL award to Clements also includes $1,000 from our partners Credit Human.
Clements is not only a new teacher mentor, she’s also a Student Council Sponsor and huge on being involved in the community and volunteering during her free time.