Tampa teacher launches ‘learning loft’ to help students with virtual learning

Hillsborough County

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A teacher who opted to take a leave of absence from the school district this upcoming school year has come up with a creative way to still educate students this fall by opening her own educational learning loft.

“I have the knowledge, I have the pedagogy behind me,” Shannon Lee told News Channel 8, “so I definitely provide that benefit to the families I’m serving.”

Lee has 13 years of experience teaching in Hillsborough County Public Schools. She said she had been assigned to a high school as a 10th-grade reading teacher and part-time reading coach.  

“You make a decision for what’s best for you and your family and that’s what I did,” she said.

Lee explained safety is her top priority during the coronavirus pandemic and she wasn’t ready to return to a brick and mortar school while caring for her 72-year-old mom who has underlying conditions.

“We are in a multi-generational household,” Lee said. “I had already made the decision to keep my daughter home, but I hadn’t figured out all of the logistics of that.”

She decided to lease space on N. 30th Street in Tampa where she’ll open “Lee’s Learning Loft” on Monday morning for her 10-year-old daughter and 16 other students between 2nd and 8th grade who enrolled in e-learning.

“It’s a smaller safer environment than being on a campus with over two thousand people,” Lee said.

In addition to providing child care and meals in a socially distanced setting, Lee said her goals are to ensure students complete all of their assignments and to help families navigate the district’s new virtual learning platforms, Canvas and Achieve 3000.

“Because even if mom or dad are home with them, if they’re trying to work and trying to monitor and support their student while doing online learning that looks totally different than before, you know they’d definitely be in for a rude awakening,” Lee said.

Lee plans to do daily temperature checks and students in her learning loft will need to wear a mask.

She told News Channel 8 an anonymous donor from the community is helping lower the cost for three families.

There are still nine slots available as of Sunday afternoon.

Families interested in enrollment can visit her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/leeslearningloft) or Leeslearningloft.com for more information.

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