Royal Women Inspire
RoyalTee Magazine jumps at the opportunity to highlight Royal Women who are doing great things in the community! Shannon Lee is doing just that! Lee is an educator and the owner of Lee’s Learning Loft in Tampa, FL.
Lee worked in Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) for 14 years. For six years she taught language arts, reading, and social studies. She spent the next eight years as a reading coach and has tutored for the past 11 years.
“I love teaching students.”
The pandemic inspired Lee to become entrepreneur and she launched Lee’s Learning Loft. She resigned from her position in HCPS to dedicate herself to her company. She has always dreamed of running an educational learning center, but she originally saw it as an afterschool program. The pandemic changed her plans slightly and inspired her to put her dream into action.
“When COVID struck, I didn’t feel safe as an instructional leader on a school campus visiting various classrooms throughout the day in my role as a reading coach, but I love teaching students,” said Lee. “Out of my passion for education and fear of COVID, Lee’s Learning Loft was born.”
What students and parents are saying
Lee’s Learning Loft was created to be a “Safe & small learning environment for kids enrolled in e-learning; facilitated by a Florida state certified instructor; perfect for essential workers,” as it says in the bio of its Instagram page.
Students who were e-learners during the pandemic were assisted by Lee at the Learning Loft. Lee would aid the students in completing their tasks and staying on top of assignments from their individual teachers.
During the 2020-21 academic year, she was able to service about 20 students, which included 9 in-person at her facility. Seven were provided virtual tutoring and others were provided with e-learning check-ins.
It is safe to say that this has been a success because many of the students speak highly of Lee and the Loft on the Loft’s social media. The Instagram page has a small but growing following of over 200 and features video testimonials from students who shared their favorite things about the program. One student shared that they felt Lee was the “best teacher ever.”
Other students expressed that they enjoyed learning, playing outside and being with friends in other videos on the Loft’s Instagram page. Lee shared that many parents were pleased to have this personal type of learning experience become a reality for their children.
“Every parent wishes for this type of academic environment for their children, but it’s difficult to obtain in oversized classrooms,” said Lee. “Every student that attended the Loft during the school year made at least one or more grade level increases in reading and math. They were all pleased.”
Lee’s summer program
Since the completion of the school year, Lee has started her Summer Accelerate Program, which provides students with an enjoyable summer while ensuring they are still progressing academically. Several students from the school year returned for this program.
“I have some students that need remediation of skills and some that need enrichment to push their skills. The students have a morning academic learning block where we primarily focus on reading, writing and math. After lunch, we enjoy indoor and outdoor activities and games,” said Lee.
Lee continues to take COVID-19 precautions to ensure the safety of her and her students as well. They wear their masks inside and when doing team activities. Their masks can be down outside, and Lee also checks their temperatures as they come in every morning.
HCPS will not offer e-learning next year, but Lee intends to continue to utilize Lee’s Learning Loft as an educational hub to serve the community. She plans to offer educational support, student life skills courses, parent educational events, educator consultations, and more in the future. The student life skills courses would include topics like financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and home buying.
To find out more about Lee’s Learning Loft and the services offered, check out Lee’s website: leeslearningloft.com. You can also search for Lee’s Learning Loft on Instagram and Facebook.
Daniel J. Newton is a senior journalism student at Florida A&M University originally from Tampa, Florida. He has bylines in publications such as The Famuan, Journey Magazine and The Tallahassee Democrat.