Teacher Spotlight – April 2021

Meet Ms. Amber Eby / Special Education English Teacher / KIPP DC Somerset Preparatory


Our April Teacher Spotlight is Ms. Amber Eby, an 11th & 12th-grade special education English teacher at KIPP DC Somerset College Preparatory! A liberal arts major from Sarah Lawrence College, Eby joined the New York Teaching Fellows program to earn her Masters in Education before joining KIPP DC.

“I had heard from my professor how much he really enjoyed working [at KIPP], so three years ago I decided to try it out and I’ve loved it so much.”

As a special education teacher, Eby boldly understands the importance of a strong foundation and support system to ensure one’s success. Unlike her previous teaching experience, Eby explains that at Somerset College Preparatory “administration seeks out teachers for feedback… They want to know your opinion about stuff that’s going to affect you in the classroom.”

This sound school culture is experienced on a peer level as well, with Eby frequently collaborating with students’ advisors to ensure everyone is positively moving forward. Remote learning has put literal distance between her and her students, so having an advisory team to share responsibility for student success has been remarkable.

“Our school has advisors for all of the kids, and they routinely check in with them to see what’s going on. That’s been really helpful to them to know that there’s another staff member who’s monitoring what’s going on with their grades and attendance; and whom they can call on if they’re having any issues. We’re lucky to have staff ensuring our students continue to make progress on their general and IEP (Individualized Education Program) goals.”

Continuing work that she initially started back in New York, Eby is now teaching SAT prep classes on Wednesdays for Somerset students. She explains that studying for a standardized test is very different from a regular test, and it is integral for students to understand that. Eby ensures her students understand the strategies behind how questions are posed, so they can break it down and work with smaller aspects of it to achieve a correct answer.

“These tests are not designed for students to get a perfect score. Once they know that it empowers them. Just from talking to them about it, I’ve seen a real change in their confidence and how they approach practice tests.”

It is no surprise that Eby’s favorite thing about teaching is helping her students transition out of high school successfully, by learning what they want as young adults and ensuring they are set up with everything they need to make that possible. As a special education teacher, Eby often has to dispel the belief that her students’ IEPs will limit their abilities “I teach a lot of students with disabilities and often tell them not to let their IEP prevent them from pursuing what they want to do.”

Now that she and her students are more technologically proficient, Eby is excited to implement computers into her future lesson plans. “I used to be a pen-and-paper teacher, but now when we go back into the building, I’m definitely going to be utilizing technology a lot more than before!”

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Posted on April 9, 2021 in Community