Urban > Isabel Diaz School
Washington Heights, NYC Age: 9 / Grade: 3 Disability Type: Specific learning disability
Isabel Diaz
Washington Heights, NYC Age: 9 / Grade: 3 Disability Type: Specific learning disability
scene 1


Isabel relies on her older sister, Sarah, to set up her online classes and therapy appointments

Virtual SLP diagnostic assessment. Isabel is in school and there is a 75min Zoom diagnostic.
Recommendations for speech, as well as for literacy interventions.
Later in the week, NWA MAP lightweight 15 minute diagnostics for math, science and reading.
Integrate speech into reading interventions.
Isabel starts the school year on an A/B schedule, alternating between remote and in-person learning
Isabel and her younger siblings share one chromebook with very unstable wifi.
Sarah helps me get to my online classes and therapy appointments on the chromebook my school gave us...
Speech and language pathologist
It’s hard to follow HIPAA compliance when so many students like Isabel are doing speech therapy surrounded by their whole family and can’t even get logged in without the help of a parent or sibling...
scene 2

Getting to school

On her in-person days, Isabel rides the train to school and has to wait in a long line to get inside.

A few weeks into school
don't have a well-being screener on file from intake.
follow up with a broader at-risk check-in--has to be at-home because of quarantine in the Fall. If we had caught it earlier there are important supports for mindset and sense of belonging that we would have provided.
It's pretty annoying having to wait in such a long line outside of school after I get off the train...
Since the start of the pandemic, I've had to start wearing many hats at school. On top of regular cleaning every other day, I also supervise the school entrance line and meal pick-ups outside the school a few times a week.
Security Guard
In a post-COVID world, my role is to ensure that students stay six feet apart, wear masks, get a temperature check before going inside, and that there are no disruptions or violations of the new rules. I am one of the adults who works to keep the school and students safe.
scene 3


In the classroom, Isabel uses computer aids to support her language needs

Isabel's speech pathologist is no longer coming into the classroom, so Isabel's teacher has set up assistive technology for her ESL students.
I'm still getting used to the computer program we use in class. It was definitely much easier when my SLP could be sitting right beside me...
Special educator
We have several special education students in the classroom and our SLP has opted into remote teaching only, so we have to set up assistive technology for their video sessions.
scene 4

Literacy coaching

Once a week, Isabel has in-person literacy coaching appointments.

My literacy coach helps me with my reading. He’s the only person outside of my house I can speak to in Spanish and English. We talk about everything that's happening in the world.
Trusted adult/ Literacy coach
I was an English learner myself. I started as an afterschool activity coach and then they started a program where I could be trained to become a literacy coach. I think students like Isabel benefit from the one-on-one attention from someone who truly understands what they are dealing with.
Start of spring semester
An employee at the Diaz family shop tests positive for COVID-19, meaning the shop has to close and the whole family has to quarantine for several weeks.
scene 5

Meal pickup

While in quarantine, the only time Isabel can see her trusted adult is when she goes with Sarah to meal pickup at school

I really miss my time with my literacy coach, who helps me with English and figuring things out in school and life. I don't have anyone else to talk to that has time and really understands.
Literacy coach
For Isabel, literacy coaching is a break from the chaos that she experiences at home, and a place where she can shine. With this setback, I'm worried that Isabel won't be able to catch up to her peers in time for her third grade examinations...
And that's my story, See other stories: