Step high, move in time, listen to the rhythm. The Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary step team members move their legs in unison with their knees high. The students are concentrating, but they are also smiling. They want to please their instructor, paraprofessional KeAnthony Jackson.
Jackson, is his first year at the school, started the step team as a creative outlet for the students. Students learn not only dances for their step performances, but they learn life lessons as well. The step team performed at several school events and the Copperas Cove Christmas Parade. Students’ self-esteem has been boosted and it is reflected in their classroom behavior, said Principal Rebekah Shuck.
“Mr. Jackson works as our physical education paraprofessional and he has impacted the culture and environment in the gym in a most spectacular way,” Shuck said. “The students love and respect him, and he has a way of helping students in their most difficult moments.”
Jackson also founded the school’s Kids of Distinction Club. In this club, Jackson works with students in grades kindergarten through fifth grades that have behavioral challenges and teaches them social skills and acceptable behavior. He meets with the students daily at the end of the day and checks in with them on their behavioral progress.
“Mr. Jackson has worked diligently to build relationships with our students and through this club, he has helped several of our most challenging students learn appropriate behaviors,” Shuck said. “He’s an excellent role model for our students. He has gone above and beyond to make students feel accepted and appreciated. Mr. Jackson is always positive and encouraging in guiding them through the process of conflict mediation or decision-making so they can do their best to learn in their classrooms.”
Physical Education teacher Mike Sheon says in his 20 years of teaching, he has only two paraprofessionals who have impacted his program and made him a better teacher. Jackson is one of those two.
“He is a force of nature that you cannot avoid nor do you want to,” Sheon said. “He has an insight that will either agree or challenge you to see what needs to be done. His enthusiasm with the kids is fun to be around, and I cannot wait to see where he goes in the future.”
Jackson was selected as the 2020 Fairview/Miss Jewell Paraprofessional of the Year and advanced to capture district honors as the 2020 Copperas Cove ISD Paraprofessional of the Year.