California Educator

April / May 2019

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 73

E V E N O N H I S best days, Joey Hocter wasn't healthy enough to attend regular school. So he received instruc- tion two or three days a week from Gianna Alexander, a home-hospital teacher who makes house calls to severely ill students. On a good day, Joey sat in his wheelchair by the door, eagerly awaiting a visit from Alexander, who spent a few hours with him each time. However, there were bad days when he couldn't get out of bed. at's when Alexander provided instruction at his bedside. Alexander is a member of the Liberty Educa- tion Association, a school site representative for Heritage High School and a State Council representative. For more than 14 years, she has been a special education teacher for students with mild to severe disabilities at three school sites in Brentwood: Gateway Adult Transition Program, Liberty High and Heritage High. She has also been a home-hospital teacher for the same number of years, teaching severely ill students in their homes after the school day ends. "Gianna is wonderful," says Debra Hocter, Joey's mother. "He couldn't wait for her to visit." Joey has spastic cerebral palsy and cognitive delay, and is a quadri- plegic. He attended public school for many years, but after numerous illnesses and surgeries, his immune system became compromised, so homeschooling was required. Even though she has the word "hospital" in her job title, Alexander seldom teaches students who are hospitalized, because they are too ill to process instruction during their stay. Often her students are in and out of the hospital; sometimes they get well enough to return to school. Alexander has been Joey's teacher since he was 17, and she is considered a member of the Hocter family. On his 22nd birthday, Joey "aged out" of home- hospital teacher services, which he received through Liberty Union High School District in Brentwood . He now receives services from an adult homeschool community- based program for adults with special needs living in Contra Costa County. Joey worried he wouldn't see Alexander after he aged out. ough she's no longer his teacher, Gianna Alexander leads a geography lesson with Joey Hocter. Inset photo: Alexander strengthens Joey's connection to the outside world. House Calls Gianna Alexander's visits to extremely ill students make a difference By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Photos by Scott Buschman 21 A P R I L / M AY 2 019 M E M B E R P R O F I L E S

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - April / May 2019