Alejandro Saine and Heidi Hancock, Sand Springs Elementary

Oct 30, 2018, 2:13 PM | Updated: Jan 15, 2021, 6:10 am

The following was submitted by Matt Seal.

“My wife and I would love to see our beloved “Señor Saine” and Mrs Hancock, a set of team teachers in the Spanish immersion program at Sand Springs Elementary, be recognized for their efforts in quite literally saving our son, Jake. He is currently happily finishing his last few weeks of first grade which we never thought would happen prior to Señor Saine’s and Mrs Hancock’s involvement.

Jake started first grade with a significant case of PTSD related to the fall wind storm and eventual tornado that hit Davis and Weber counties in September of 2016. At the time Jake was a kindergartner at Sand Springs. He was caught in the wind storm that afternoon and knocked down while walking home from school. This experience left him anxious and severely insecure about the weather and attending school. Every school day for about a year Jake would fight us about going to school. He would cry, panic, and latch on to us as we dropped him off. He especially hated bad weather days. The transition to first grade, including a new and inexperienced teacher, only made his anxiety worse. He came home frustrated, sad, angry, depressed, and insecure. Jake dreaded going to school and was starting to shut down at home as a result.

After several emotional meltdowns, dozens of counseling sessions, and many tear filled meetings with the principal, the school administrators (awesome shout out to them too) agreed to have us try a new approach by switching Jake to a new class in the middle of the year. In November, Jake transferred into the Spanish immersion program at Sand Springs and Señor Saine and Heidi Hancock became Jake’s new teachers. We were nervous about the change, especially because Jake would not only be in a new environment, but he would also be behind in learning Spanish.

The two of them have been an absolute miracle in Jake’s life. The day before Jake was to start, Mrs Hancock came to our home with a treat and a card welcoming him to her class. Within days he stopped complaining about going to school. Señor Saine often took Jake in his arms in the morning and would joke with him to help him feel safe. We quickly noticed he was happy and a light returned to him that neither my wife nor I had seen in over a year. Both Ms Hancock and Señor Saine have have extended themselves beyond what’s expected to make Jake feel safe and feel loved. They will stay with him at recess or lunch when he’s nervous about the wind. They help him feel safe when it’s raining by shutting the blinds. As a team they have single handedly rebuilt his confidence. He no longer worries about school and even has stopped having anxiety over bad weather. His a academic performance has also excelled and he loves Spanish! The turnaround he has made is so unbelievable to us. We will forever be in debt to both of them for rescuing our precious little first grader.”

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Alejandro Saine and Heidi Hancock, Sand Springs Elementary