Teachers in the Big Sandy area receive national recognition

Mercedes Burke and Sarah Ray from Model City Head Start had their virtual teaching videos...
Mercedes Burke and Sarah Ray from Model City Head Start had their virtual teaching videos showcased to the National Center for Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning, one of four national training centers(BSACAP)
Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 12:14 PM EDT
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PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - The pandemic led some Eastern Kentucky teachers to set a high bar for online education for educators across the country.

Educators in Big Sandy Area Community Action Program’s (BSACAP) Head Start program used technology to their advantage while school was widely online for a large part of the pandemic.

Tracy Jenkins, BSACAP Head Start Grantee Director, began making videos that combined entertainment and education to hold students’ attention.

“I had a hard time keeping students interested,” said Mercedes Burke, a Model City Head Start teacher, in a news release. “I thought I’d bring some magic into the classroom.”

With some “movie magic” Burke, along with other teachers, used iMovie on their phones to create an immersive experience in which they would “travel” while teaching.

This allowed them to use visual learning while stuck online. Some teachers, like Sarah Ray with Model City Head Start, even used the social media platform TikTok to create videos.

No one expected the videos to gain traction as well as they did.

“It’s very cool to know, and that it’s us, to have our faces on there,” said Burke. “I just wanted to get the kids to laugh and have fun while learning.”

Aside from the national popularity, BSACAP is praising its teachers for creating a space that engaged students outside of the classroom.

BSACAP Executive Director Wanda Thacker said, “We’re very proud of the work these teachers have done to keep their students safe, healthy, and engaged in their education.

Head Start is dedicated to providing children with a variety of resources within the education realm. For more information about enrolling, you can visit, follow them on Facebook, or call the service office in your county.

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