Laura Jandl works with one of her special education students. Jandl received the 2010-2011 Minnesota Council for Exceptional Children Rookie Teacher of the Year award.
She knew it would be challenging, but Laura Jandl was determined to use her special education degree from UW-Stout to work with mild to severely disabled students.
After graduating in May 2010, she accepted a job doing just that with District 917 at the high school in Hastings, Minn.
One semester and many challenges later, she was named Rookie Teacher of the Year for 2010-2011 by the Minnesota Council for Exceptional Children.
“With great instruction from professors at Stout and an unbelievable student teaching placement, I walked into my first year of teaching with full confidence that I knew how to be a great special education teacher," Jandl said.
Working with the most severely disabled students hasn’t been easy, but it has been rewarding. “When you see how big their hearts are, you’re taken aback,” Jandl said.
Jandl has five students. All of them are in wheelchairs and four are nonverbal. They range in age from 15 to 21. Some have seizure activity, three are tube-fed and another has a tracheotomy to aid in breathing.
“To say to one of these students, ‘Reach out and grab this ball,’ it may take months for them to do that, but when it happens it changes their whole world.”

Summer Outlook 2012