Teacher Feature: Ms. Lynch


Adowyn Byrne

Ms. Lynch started working at EHS in August of 2019. She previously worked as a teacher in Winooski for about 10 years, but after she had children, she took a break from teaching and pursued a master’s degree in School Counseling. Following the completion of this degree, Ms. Lynch accepted the 504 coordinator position because it offered her an opportunity to use her background in teaching and counseling. As the 504 coordinator, Ms. Lynch helps ensure that students with disabilities have the support they need to succeed in school. Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, any organization that receives federal funding (including public schools) cannot discriminate against a person based on a disability. To comply with this law, schools develop “504 plans” so that students with disabilities receive the specific accommodations they need to access their education. Students who have a wide range of disabilities utilize 504 plans at Essex High School. For example, some students use 504 plans because they have learning disabilities such as dyslexia, but other students utilize 504 plans because they have severe food allergies or anxiety disorders. 

Ms. Lynch is currently the case manager for about 100 EHS students with 504 plans, and she coordinates with these students, their teachers, and their families to make sure that students receive equitable access to education. Ms. Lynch not only helps students who are officially assigned to her caseload, but manages to help countless other EHS students every day. She has her own advisory group, and she cheerfully greets all of the students who come into Learning Lab for supported studies. Ms. Lynch says that she “tr[ies] to be helpful whenever [she] see[s] someone who looks like they’re having a hard time.”

Students describe Ms. Lynch as “welcoming” and “down to earth.” They explain that she finds creative ways to motivate them to finish their work. Importantly, students say that Ms. Lynch makes them feel valuable because she listens to them and accepts them for who they are. Colleagues describe Ms. Lynch as “responsive,” “proactive,” “motivated,” and “funny.” One teacher who recently interacted with Ms. Lynch says that she is “unbelievably quick to respond to students and teachers.” The teacher explains that Ms Lynch “doesn’t wait for problems to grow” and “manages to support everyone involved rather than looking at any issue as one-sided.” Another staff member adds that Ms. Lynch “is very generous with her time” and “makes everyone feel special.”

When asked what her favorite part of her job is, Ms. Lynch responds that she enjoys contributing to the positive atmosphere of the school by “jok[ing] around and be[ing] lighthearted with [her] students and colleagues.” She says that “it feels really good when you can help someone persevere through a challenge” and that “connecting with students on a daily basis to help them manage the day is pretty awesome.” 

The Hive thinks Ms. Lynch is “pretty awesome” too.