Special education teacher Nicole Schroepfer makes an impact

Special+education+teacher+Nicole+Schroepfer+works+with+her+students+to+help+them+learn+to+count+money+and+prepare+them+for+the+world+outside+of+the+classroom.
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Special education teacher Nicole Schroepfer makes an impact

Special education teacher Nicole Schroepfer works with her students to help them learn to count money and prepare them for the world outside of the classroom.

Special education teacher Nicole Schroepfer works with her students to help them learn to count money and prepare them for the world outside of the classroom.

Photo By Sadie Heieren

Special education teacher Nicole Schroepfer works with her students to help them learn to count money and prepare them for the world outside of the classroom.

Photo By Sadie Heieren

Photo By Sadie Heieren

Special education teacher Nicole Schroepfer works with her students to help them learn to count money and prepare them for the world outside of the classroom.

Sadie Heieren, Photographer

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Special Education teacher Nicole Schroepfer has been pushing disabled students to do their best in school at Stillwater for 11 years. Her experience in teaching has allowed her to connect with students and help them to grow their understanding of life.

Schroepfer earned an B.S. in Vocational Rehabilitation-Special Education K-12 CD from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and an M.A. In Special Education-Autism Spectrum Disorders from the University of St. Thomas. Her job can be challenging at times, but this just makes the  breakthroughs better. Her approach is to build relationships and establish trust. She helps her students have hope for a bright future.

The best parts of Schroepfer’s job is the kids she works with. Sometimes finding a job that one likes can be hard, but she knew from an young age that she wanted to work with special ed students. She loves working with her students, they are her motivation.

“The students, they are just some of the most amazing people. I mean progress can be slow sometimes, but just seeing them grow and change is amazing. Especially with them here for four years now. We get that extra time to see them change and mature. Sometimes we get to see them at the transition program as well. It’s at the Oak Park Elementary school, the old building. But our students get to stay from age 18 to 21 to work on transitioning to adulthood. They get to stay and work on becoming more independent for adulthood. And it’s so fun to see where they started to when they’re 21, it’s usually an big difference. Just seeing that and working with the families, those connections, it just, it feels great,” Schroepfer said.

Nicole has genuine care to help her students become the best version of themselves and to assist in preparing them to be as independent as possible after their high school and transition years. She goes out of her way to find and create meaningful and engaging activities for her students to learn, to experience, and to prepare for their futures.”

— Amy Hoffman

Working with students with learning disabilities can be difficult because communication skills can vary and emotions can run high. Fellow special education teacher Deb Gray and the other members of her team all help to create a feeling of family that makes the job extremely satisfactory.

“The kids just love her,” Special Education teacher Deb Gray said. “I think the biggest thing with Nicole is very, very patient. And the kids know that she cares about each of them. You know when somebody cares about you. And she does a lot of fun, exciting hands on things in our classroom that the kids enjoy. She knows how to laugh, she will laugh with the kids. She believes in having fun in the classroom.”  

The students that Schroepfer teaches are happy to be with her. She makes them feel comfortable and able to have fun. She works with small groups of students at a time to get to know them well. They get to learn real world things, like counting money.

“Nicole has genuine care to help her students become the best version of themselves and to assist in preparing them to be as independent as possible after their high school and transition years. She goes out of her way to find and create meaningful and engaging activities for her students to learn, to experience, and to prepare for their futures.” Special Education teacher Amy Hoffman said.

Schroepfer realizes that pushing her students to do their best while still acknowledging their limitations is what she was made for. The Special Education program helps students with special needs to learn, gain life experiences and have fun. These students would not be able to have a good life without the support of their teachers, like Schroepfer.

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