When Lacy Hammond began working towards her career, she never thought she would end up working with special education students.
“I went to school to be an early childhood education teacher, never thinking I would teach special education,” said Hammond. “But now that I’ve been doing it I don’t really think I ever want to do anything else.”
Life took Hammond down a different path than she originally planned and she believes it was God who brought her into this position.
“I do believe that this has all been His plan,” Hammond said.
Hammond worked in daycare for several years before she began pursuing jobs in the education field. She began as a substitute teacher six years ago, subbing for a paraprofessional who was doing her student teaching in a classroom with special needs students.
As the class grew, it needed to be split and Hammond was offered the job of teaching the second class.
“I just kind of fell into it,” said Hammond. “I was just at the right place at the right time.”
Before transferring to Dawson County Middle School this year, Hammond worked with the Community Based Instruction, or CBI, program at the high school. Hershel Bennett, the Director of the Exceptional Student program in Dawson County, wanted Lacy to help expand the program to the middle school and said she has done an outstanding job.
“She has high academic standards and a caring personality that leads to an outstanding classroom environment,” said Bennett.
DCMS currently has six exceptional students, but there will be a group of kids joining the ranks from the elementary schools next year.
Hammond has worked to integrate her students into the school and community through several different means. At the school, the students take turns delivering coffee to the teachers each morning. They also help with recycling from the cafeteria and delivering letters from the front office to the classrooms. Hammond believes that her students feel proud when they can help. It is also teaching them how to be more independent.
“I see where the kids get a lot from it. That is why we’re here. That’s what matters,” said Hammond.
Out in the county, the students go on community trips one Friday a month for outings that are tied to their current school lessons, similar to the outings of the high school CBI students. Unlike the older CBI students, the middle schoolers don’t work job sites. They have visited Walmart, had lunch at Chili’s, met with the Dawson County Emergency Services and they’re planning to go to Kroger next.
Hammond hopes with the program’s growth in the next school year she can implement more community trips and more responsibilities around the school. She wants to see the middle school program grow and her students succeed when they reach junior high.
Working with the CBI students has changed Hammond, who says she feels more humble, flexible and accepting because of her students.
“You realize that there’s just so many different varieties of kids that you aren’t used to thinking or seeing or being around,” Hammond said about working in the program. “It just makes you more accepting of just everything and anything.”