New York First Grade Teacher Visits Students At Their Homes While Social Distancing

As self-isolation continues in the country due to the novel coronavirus lockdown, stories of unusual kindness are popping up everywhere and warming the hearts of people.

People in Greece, New York, have been getting texts informing them that their bread, soap and school supplies have been dropped off on the front step.

The supplies are not being delivered by store delivery but by a kindhearted teacher.

As students remain at home, Brookside Elementary School first-grade teacher Deborah Cowley is transforming the meaning of home-schooling.

She is making surprise visits to her students’ houses, driving by them for birthday parades, and mailing personalized cards to them.


“She sent us a text saying, ‘Look outside.’ My son was over-the-moon excited because his teacher was here,” said Lorraine Kane, whose son Nick, 6, is in Cowley’s class. “One day she dropped bread in our mailbox. She is so much more than a teacher. She’s basically their mom away from home.”

Cowley is a quirky, endearing chatterbox and even offered to knit a baby blanket and bring diapers for the interviewer because she’s a couponer.


Cowley visited her students door to door to tell them she misses them and sent all 20 of her students a letter and self-addressed stamped envelope so they could be pen pals, and she even celebrated virtual spirit week by dressing in sock monkey pajamas.

She has even dropped off learning materials for one of her students who doesn’t have computer access. She’s been leaving home once a week to shop for her elderly mother, but makes a pit stop from a safe distance on the way home.


“She showed up to our house holding a sign up to the window that said ‘I miss you! I love you!’ ” said Charissa Cutaia, whose daughter Ava has Cowley. “The kids don’t understand why they’re not going back to school and it was a sense of normalcy to see her teacher.

“It’s huge. The kids absolutely love her.”

Cowley faced heartbreak during her teaching days when more than a decade ago, two students of hers were murdered by their fathers in separate incidents. That made her into part educator, part protector.

“I kind of view students a little bit differently, so I always let my students know how much they are cared for,” Cowley said. “I have their back. I try to make sure they know they are safe and they are loved.”


Her students love her back as well, she is always on their birthday party guest lists, and she always RSVPs yes. Cowley says she has “probably been to every birthday party place around here.”


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