Graduation Recovery Teacher, Ms. Veronica Steigerwald, Helps Students Walk Across the Graduation Stage

Posted by PA Distance Learning on 2/22/21 11:42 AM

Ms. Veronica Steigerwald is a new addition to the PA Distance team having joined the staff this school year as a Graduation Recovery and Entrepreneurship teacher. She graduated from Robert Morris University in 2019 with a BA in Secondary Education and has a PA Certification in Social Studies 7-12.

“I knew I wanted to be a teacher but wasn’t sure what subject,” she said.

Graduation Recovery is for students who have fallen behind in their classes and, in some cases, delayed them from advancing into the next grade. That's where PA Distance Graduation Recovery teachers come in. The goal for Graduation Recovery is to get students back into their regular classes and to ultimately graduate by using Live Learning, Google Hangouts, and the web-based education program, PLATO. Ms. Steigerwald works with students to help them get back to the correct academic standing.

To do this, Ms. Steigerwald works one-on-one with each student and coaches them when working on assignments. Graduation Recovery is more about teaching students organizational skills and time management so that they can complete assignments as they should. If they need help with the actual content, Ms. Steigerwald will work through it with them.

“The students and I set up a lot of one-on-one meetings,” she said. “Everyone is in a different place and so we develop a plan together so it works uniquely for them,” she explained. “It’s also nice when students feel comfortable enough to come to me for help.”

“Most of our meetings are done using Google Meet and some are done on the phone,” she explained. “Every day is different.”

"Ms. Steigerwald has helped me so much in getting caught up and back on track in Graduation Recovery and where I need to be in school period. She is always available to answer mine and my moms questions and is always telling me how proud of me she is when I do good in my Graduation Recovery classes and actually cares if I do well or not," 9th-grader, Malayna R. explained.  "She is a very nice and caring and understanding person. I don't know if I would be as far as I am or doing as well as I am had I had someone else in charge of my Graduation Recovery classes."

She also teaches one section of the high school elective, Entrepreneurship, which gives students a head start in learning about what they will need to own and operate a successful business. Her students explore creating a business plan, financing a business, and pricing products and services.

At the beginning of the year, Ms. Steigerwald asks them what business they would like to own or what industry they would like to work within. Her students then embark on a unit-long project to make a business plan to develop their business. The course gives students the opportunity to research a business interest of their choice that may grow into a real path after graduation. 

“One of my students wanted to make their own lip gloss, someone wants to start their own furniture store, and someone else wants to restore old typewriters, which I thought was really cool,” she said. “We also have a lot of aspiring chefs and fashion designers.”

Overall, Ms. Steigerwald loves connecting with her students and the impact that she can make as their teacher. The relationships are really important to her. 

“The flexibility that the students have is really great,” she said. “They all have different backgrounds and different needs. With our model, they found something that works for them and are getting a good quality education at the same time.” 

Ms. Steigerwald looks forward to the upcoming graduation ceremony so she can see her students walk across the stage after all of their hard work getting back on track.

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