OCPS’ 2020 Teacher of the Year shares her intense focus on students with special needs – Episode 9

Listen to the podcast (click play button above) to hear Melissa Pappas, the current Orange County Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year, discuss why she chose to teach students who cannot advocate for themselves.

In this episode, Melissa shares what we can all learn from non-verbal students, whether from a disability or shyness.

As the 2020 OCPS TOY, she hopes to educate others about students with special needs and how to help or react to them when they have behavioral issues.

Take a look inside her classroom:

Let’s practice vocabulary

Read aloud to check for understanding

Writing a Halloween story

To hear her acceptance speech from the Stellar Awards, watch this video:


Melissa Pappas teaches K-5 students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and special needs at Brookshire ES and is the 2020 Orange County Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year. As a former student of Brookshire, it has a special place in her heart.

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