Former ABC7 Weather Sketcher turns Tracy Butler forecasts into teaching tool at Glenbard East HS

LOMBARD, Ill. (WLS) -- ABC7 Meteorologist Tracy Butler is a classroom staple at Glenbard East High School.

For the last seven years, Valerie Mauritz and her special education students have been using Tracy's daily forecasts as a learning tool in her life-skills class.

"The whole goal of watching Tracy Butler is just like any other adult watching the weather. It informs your decisions for the day. It informs you on what you're going to do and how you are going to dress," Mauritz said. "All of that is related to functional, academic skills that people need, every single day, to be successful in the world."

Watching Tracy's weather forecast is also an opportunity to learn communication skills.

"We are very fortunate in our district, that our administration, is supportive. We are a one-to-one district, meaning that every student has an iPad," Mauritz said. "With the advances that have been made in technology, we use various apps. One of them is called 'TouchChat'. It's essentially an app with a bunch of boxes on it. When a student touches a box, it will speak for the student."

Her students use weather words of the day to focus on communication, vocabulary and sentence structure.

"Working with our students on communicating; that's our goal. Always an expressive language on, 'How am I going to dress? What's my day going to look like?' based off of the weather. Tracy Butler has become a staple in our classroom, she's like another student in here. Students know her very well. We just love watching her," Mauritz said.

It's not by coincidence that she has a special fondness for the weather and Tracy's forecasts.

"Tracy is really special to me because when I was growing up, my family always watched ABC7 weather. I remember I was selected as a Weather Sketcher back when I was in the 2nd grade," Mauritz said.

Tracy still does Weather Sketchers today.
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