Kelli Glisan

J.V. Washam Elementary School
Cornelius, North Carolina

Best Practices

1) Teacher and Staff Development: With my background in instructional coaching and new teacher coaching in Title I schools, I have received a lot of valuable training on the effectiveness of using various coaching models. At Renaissance West STEAM Academy, I did walkthroughs with our admin team weekly. I took this process with me to my new school as an AP but trained our admin staff how to use a platform called Google Keep to give immediate feedback and coaching tips to teachers, while also keeping a record of all walkthroughs to discuss at admin meetings. Two administrators pair up weekly to calibrate with each other during walkthroughs. At our admin meetings, we discuss any trends or patterns we are seeing with instruction. I then plan specifically tailored PD for teachers based on their individual needs. The whole admin team then does one weekly grade level blitz to look for curriculum alignment, who is doing the heavy lifting (student or teacher), and questioning.

2) Whole Child Initiatives: When we returned back to school from COVID, it was obvious that mental health, social emotional learning, and behavior strategies were an area that we had to focus on. I collaborated with our counselors and our feeder school counselors to strengthen our SEL focus. Coming from a school where we were heavily trained in trauma informed teaching, I was able to share many of the strategies we used at that school and implemented into my new school. We did a PD on Cool Down Corners and bought materials (fidgets, stress balls, etc.) to have readily available in all classrooms. This year, we collaborated with our behavior department to offer trauma training to all our teachers at the beginning of the year, and next month, we will partner again to work on training staff on how to respond to students in crisis and how to implement restorative practices. If we do not attend to students’ most basic needs first, learning cannot take place.