No Student Left Behind

By Riley Kinum May 19, 2021
Teacher makes daily home visits to her student battling leukemia so he won't fall behind.

Barb Heim, a first-grade teacher in her 35th year at Conneaut Valley Elementary School in Conneautville, Pennsylvania, truly believes in “no child left behind.” Every day after school, Heim drives 20 minutes to Harrison Conner’s house. Harrison is a second-grader battling leukemia. Heim delivers the day’s lesson to him and keeps his spirits up as he undergoes treatment. She brings the classroom to him, following all necessary precautions, of course. They both wear masks and Heim wears a face shield.

Heim greatly enjoys their time together. When interviewed by TODAY, Heim stated, “It was a joy, because I knew he wanted to learn. He said he couldn’t wait. He was so excited. And he’d have his off days if medicine was causing him to not feel up to it. It wasn’t the best day for him, but we made it through. And he always did his best.”

Heim has been there from the start. In fact, she was the first one who noticed that something was off with Harrison, as he was often very pale and not as active as normal. She told the school nurse who notified Harrison’s mother.

His presence in class has been deeply missed. Heim stated, “Oh, he’s an amazing little guy. He is so much fun in class. You could have 100 of him in a classroom, and you would still take more because he has that sense about him. He wants to learn. He loves to learn new things.” Harrison and his family love Mrs. Heim. Harrison’s mother, Suzanne, stated, “Ever since the minute he was diagnosed…she has been absolutely amazing. She has kept Harrison such a part of the kids’ lives in school and making sure that he feels remembered.” Suzanne even compared Heim to an aunt who always brings goodies and a smile.

The goodies and smiles, as well as the treatment, are working well. Harrison is currently in remission. He has another year and a half of treatment and Heim will be by his side through it all.