Rep. Axne Announces Southeast Polk Special Education Teacher as 2020 State of the Union Guest

January 30, 2020
Press Release
Mrs. Shannon Baity will join Rep. Axne in Washington next week to highlight the continuing need for resources to improve teacher, student mental health

Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) announced Mrs. Shannon Baity of Southeast Polk Community School District had accepted her invitation to be her guest for the 2020 State of the Union Address next Tuesday, February 4th, 2020.

Mrs. Baity and Rep. Axne will hear the address given by President Trump and highlight the importance of investments in mental health resources for both students and teachers to maintain safe and healthy learning environments for current and future students.

A survey from the American Federation of Teachers found that 61% of teachers feel “always” or “often” stressed at work, while more than a half of teachers felt their own mental health was “not good” when asked.

“We need to be making sure that our teachers and students are equally prepared for each day of learning, including by ensuring they aren’t overburdened by stress and other mental health challenges that undermine a good learning environment,” said Rep. Axne. “As we have the opportunity next week to reflect on our nation’s priorities for the coming year, we must not forget our teachers, their students and the need to protect their holistic wellbeing. Ensuring our school districts, towns and education advocates have the tools and resources they need to support safe and stress-free education will pay dividends for our communities, economy and future prosperity.”

“I have a passion for students with special needs, in particular those students with behavior and mental health needs.  They need someone to love them, encourage them and advocate for them — and that’s what I strive to do,” said Mrs. Baity. “Mental health and behavior in education are a higher priority than ever before. I believe educators, administrators and districts care about the needs of kids but resources, curriculum and funding are limited. The remaining questions to be addressed are where, when and how to provide support in these critical areas and at the different levels of need for both students and faculty. Conversations are beginning to head in the right direction; however, I think there are still improvements to be made.”

Mrs. Baity is a special education teacher at Clay Elementary in Altoona, Iowa, and is passionate about advocating for students with special needs, especially in the areas of behavior and mental health. She currently works with multiple groups of students, including many students who require individualized lessons, direct instruction and interaction between normal instruction periods. She has worked in the Southeast Polk Community School District for 6 years.

Mrs. Baity has worked with students who need academic and behavior support in the district behavior program for grades 6 through 12, and at Clay Elementary for Kindergarten through 5th grade.