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  • Writer's pictureMadaline Dunn

Nelsha Peterson: Making sure no child is left behind

Updated: Apr 14, 2022

Upbeat, innovative, and dedicated, Nelsha Peterson, of Don Woolley Middle School is an educator who emphasizes the importance of strong relationships and always goes the extra mile for her students.

Ever since she was little, Nelsha Peterson knew she wanted to work with children. Although she started out with the intention of becoming a pediatrician, she realized education is where she wanted to be when she started working as an educational coach after college. From there, Nelsha headed back home to Mesquite to start her teaching career at Don Woolley Middle School, where she now also coaches basketball and volleyball.

Nelsha is really invested in her development as an educator, and recently enrolled in classes for her master's. Likewise, she is also involved in Mesquite's Excellence in Teaching Incentive Program where she has one-on-one training to deepen her knowledge and understanding of teaching.

When talking about the best way to engage with students, Nelsha outlined that it's important to meet students where they are. She said, "In order for students to grow, you need to connect with them at their level of understanding and build on top of that." She also emphasizes that getting the students excited about math is essential. In a recent lesson, when teaching the order of operations, transformed her classroom into an operating room. "My mum is a nurse practitioner, so I came to work in her lab coat and wore her stethoscope,” she said. “When you make learning hands-on, students tend to tune in more and get more out of the lesson."

Nelsha believes that the classroom should be a place where students feel safe, and cared for, and almost like a home environment and so, she fills her room full of bright colors to create a bright, fun atmosphere.

Reflecting on the challenges of the last two years, Nelsha said that although times were challenging, she did her utmost to ensure that, as she said, "No child was left behind." Nelsha said she constantly checked in with her students, sent home note cards, and ensured that all students felt involved by having all of them present on the online screen. Moreover, she said while the class uses fewer manipulatives, as a whole, they're navigating their way through together.

Photos courtesy of Nelsha Peterson

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