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We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

We've waived our application fee through the month of April. Now is a great time to submit your application!

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Campuses

Welcome to Julie Billiart Schools, a family of K-8 coeducational, independent day schools for children with learning differences.

Overview

Monday, December 28, 2020

JB Akron Teacher Feels At Home in His First Year

Half way through the school year, we check in with one of JB’s newest teachers, Patrick O’Brien

Patrick O’Brien, one of JB Akron’s newest Intervention Specialists, first heard of Julie Billiart Schools six years ago. JB’s President and CEO, Lannie Davis-Frecker, was invited to speak in one of his education classes while he was studying to become a teacher. He still remembers the impact of hearing about Julie Billiart Schools’ unique mission.

“I hadn’t even graduated, but I was so impressed with the mission of JB,” O’Brien said. “At the time, I had never heard of a place like JB and I could tell right away that it was special.”

Years later, he found his way to our special schools and is now a fifth-grade intervention specialist at JB Akron. He started in August of 2020. Now half way through the school year, he reflects on working with JB’s incredible kids, transitioning into elementary-school education, and the challenges and rewards of teaching during a pandemic.

How did you find your way to Julie Billiart Schools?

My degree is in early childhood education. When I was graduating from college, I had an opportunity to teach special education at the high school I attended - St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. It was a great opportunity and I spent four years there. I always knew that I wanted to get back to teaching younger grades, so when a position opened at Julie Billiart School Akron, I immediately applied.

Fifth grade is kind of a sweet spot. The kids are mature enough that you can joke around with them and have genuine conversations with them, but they’re also still so fun and innocent. They enjoy school. No cell phones, no attitudes. I really like this grade.

Have you always known that you wanted to teach?

When I started thinking about college and a career, I was pulled toward education. Something about it always felt natural to me. In high school, my cross country coach was one of the special needs teachers at the school. He also worked with a program that organized sports for people with disabilities. I had the opportunity to volunteer with that program and learn more about the special needs community. I loved it and never felt out of place.

What’s your experience been like as a teacher during COVID-19?

Starting a new job is always a little nerve wracking, but i was pretty calm going into this year knowing that everyone was a little unsure of what to expect. Knowing that I wasn’t totally on my own or out of the loop with how I felt was calming.

Because JB has such small class sizes, I never feel unsafe, and I never want my students to feel unsafe. We take great precautions to sanitize our classroom and normalize mask wearing. Our kids sometimes feel more than the average person. We talk about their frustrations that they can’t spend time at their friends’ houses. They know that we’re all in this together and that helps.

What has been the biggest adjustment from high school education to elementary education?

When I was teaching high school, I was always teaching such a specific thing - like algebra. Now, I get to work with the same group of kids all day, rather than teach six algebra classes in a row. It’s so much more fun to be at JB and teach not only academics, but also how to be a good person and how to interact with others. I get to help kids learn how to communicate their feelings and regulate their emotions. They learn to trust us and, because we are with them all day, we can find teachable moments in almost any situation. That’s been a very positive adjustment.

What has been the best part of your new role?

The kids. I can feel stressed or preoccupied in the morning and the second one of our kids walks in, it changes. I just want to be a different person for them. I need to be “on” for them and completely present. Also, the other teachers have been so helpful. I love working with my co-teacher, Ms. Nelson. She’s so intentional with her words and I’ve enjoyed learning from her. In general, I’ve felt completely welcomed here. The JB Way has a lot to do with the kids, but it’s also how we welcome our new staff. When people ask me “how’s work” - it’s just a good place to be. I’ve been in a lot of schools. There aren’t words for it. It just feels… different. I enjoy every day.

open-quote Julie Billiart Schools gave us hope after our daughter was diagnosed with a learning disability. At JB, she thrived in the small classes, received necessary therapies, and developed the self-confidence to ask for help when she needed it. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote My kids love everything about JB and look forward to going to school every day and seeing their friends and teachers. JB is truly a one of a kind school enriching young lives everyday. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote They have all the resources necessary, specialized to the individual learning of each child, and the heart that goes with it. I don't think we would have stayed in Ohio if it wasn't for JB! close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote Julie Billiart Schools has helped my child become a better version of himself. The teachers and therapists at JB really know and understand how to reach children who learn differently. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote All of the teachers and staff at JB are patient and willing to take the extra time to make sure we, as parents, understand and are comfortable. close-quote

JB Parent

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