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Thanks to Teachers: Stephanie Sizemore

Stephanie Sizemore's class includes several special needs students. Sizemore says they are getting encouragement, love and friendship from their fellow students. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

A Pisgah Forest Elementary School first grade teacher is being praised for the inclusive atmosphere in her first-grade class.

Stephanie Sizemore's class includes several special needs students. Sizemore says they are getting encouragement, love and friendship from their fellow students.

"It really doesn't matter whether they are a special needs student or if they are highly capable. They all have something special to give to the classroom," she said. "We just have to find what their special thing is and help them build on it."

Pisgah Forest's principal Tonya Treadway says Sizemore's first graders are thriving, both academically and socially.

"She is a teacher who leads with her heart, but is highly skilled, intelligent, well trained," Treadway said of Sizemore.

Sizemore said it's the kids without special needs who may benefit from the inclusiveness of the class the most.

"How to deal with people who are different. They're going to have to do that their whole lives," Sizemore explained.

The veteran teacher says her philosophy is "take them where they're at and do with them what they're capable of, and try to push them to be the best they can be."

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