CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - During Melissa Johnson's Social Studies class Fred Smith sits in the back of the room taking notes, but he's not a student. Coach Smith is helping to teach in a unique way. Four of the kids in the class wouldn't be here if not for the work Smith does.
"Some of them need help with writing. Some of them need help with reading. Some of them need help with their behavior," said Smith.
He's a special ed teacher, but his kids sit in the regular classroom with the rest of their peers. While his partner teaches the class, he can work with the kids who need a little extra help on certain concepts. For example, he helps Jessica Johnson take notes.
"I'm kind of dyslexic," Johnson said.
Instead of concentrating on writing, she can simply listen. Being in a traditional classroom can be a challenge for some of Smith's students, but he feels what they gain from the experience helps teach them more than academics.
"It makes them more accepted. More adaptable to real life," said Smith.
"He's gonna be my mentor for life," said Johnson.
Smith won the weekly Golden Apple Award for teaching excellence. The award comes with a $500 prize from the sponsor, The Kirby Kelly Law Firm.
To nominate an Ark-La-Tex educator to win the award, click here to fill out the form.