Thanks to Teachers: Debbie Howell

Thanks to Teachers: Debbie Howell

At North Canton Elementary School, Debbie Howell's third-grade class is learning about fractions.

Howell, a teacher for more than 20 years, wants to make sure everything adds up for her kids, especially when it comes to doing well on the all-important End of Grade Tests, or EOG's.

"They were used to me, and I didn't want a stranger in here with them when they were having to be assessed," says Howell.

That was her thinking in 2016, shortly after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

"I never felt frightened, I never felt like it was a death sentence," recalls Howell of her diagnosis.

However, the treatment left her immune system weakened, and coming back to school too soon was risky.

"When you're doing chemo, your body undergoes a lot," state's Howell.

But, Howell says North Canton worked with her, by letting her come back early, but helping her stay confined to the classroom, while others took her students to the cafeteria and different places on campus.

"Just really rallied around me and supported me and helped me in everything I needed to do to come back and be there for the students at the end of the year," Howell says of her co-workers.

The teamwork paid off and continues to. Howell has remained in the Top 25 percent of teachers statewide, based on her student's EOG reading scores.

"She's a good teacher, and she will let us do fun stuff, like drawing, and also school work like multiplication drawing and the numbers you have to shade in," says third-grader Bentley.

"It's kind of like she's a third parent because she's always there when we need her, and when we're sad and come to school, she always wants to talk to us," says classmate Novah.

Howell wraps up her long, joyful and successful career at the end of the year, and looks forward to retirement.

"Hope to be able to spend more time with my grandbabies and my husband," says Howell of her future plans.