Cultivating a Distinguished School of Inclusion - Our Journey to Success
Are you looking for ways to create a more inclusive environment at your school that increases sense of belonging and student engagement? Are you a leader who wants to create and and/or cultivate a school culture that develops, supports, and monitors integrated systems that empower teachers and students to reach their full potential? Leading a school that focuses on equity, inclusion, and sense of belonging requires a commitment to practices that are viewed through an asset-based lens and often include out of the box thinking and approaches. This session will focus on the actions steps one Title I school took to create increased access and opportunity for all students to become a National ESEA Distinguished School. Participants will walk away with lots of practical ideas and strategies they can immediately implement in their school.
Kayla has been a classroom teacher at Kenwood Elementary School for 10 years, with the last 6 years in 1st grade. She has served as team lead, and was the first homeroom teacher in the building to complete the Kentucky Center for Mathematics Early Numeracy training. Kayla received her National Boards Certification in 2017, and renewed her certification in 2021, while also receiving her Project Based Learning Certification. In the 2018-2019 school year, Kayla led her team to have the highest MAP growth in 1st grade, in the district. Kayla is helping Kenwood transition to a Certified Project Based Learning school over the next 3 years, by coaching the staff through PBL certification and was a featured guest on the PBL Playbook Podcast. Kayla has worked closely with fellow presenter, Tracy Madryga, and has learned how best to provide Tier 1 instruction for her multilingual learners. Through this partnership, she has incorporated new strategies in her daily lessons, which benefit all students’ speaking and listening skills, as well as build background knowledge for new vocabulary.
Jill is in her 16th year as the Principal of Kenwood Elementary in Louisville, Kentucky and host of Be The Leader You Deserve podcast. She led the school to have one of the highest MAP growth achievements of Title I schools across all subgroups in her district and helped the school become the only school in the state of Kentucky to be designated as a National School of Character. Jill's leadership helped Kenwood be recognized at the local, state, and national level for their work to successfully support and engage students and families in non-traditional instruction during the pandemic. In 2017 Jill received the Hilliard Lyons Principal of the Year award. Jill mentors new and aspiring principals and is a board member of the Imagination Library Louisville. Jill has presented at the local, state, and national level and has authored and been featured in a variety of articles.
Tracy has been a teacher for 15 years, with the last eight years in the role of ESL teacher. She has served as team lead and has helped advocate for the academic needs of Kenwood’s multilingual learners. Tracy and her team’s advocacy has led Kenwood to see ESL instruction not as an intervention, but as Tier 1 instruction that is critical in a school with a population that is nearly 50% multilingual. Kenwood’s success with multilingual learners led to our team’s 2016 Hilliard Lyons Award, and has also led our school to become a model for other ESL programs across the district. Tracy works closely with the district ESL department to stay up-to-date on the most current research regarding instruction for multilingual learners. She promotes implementation of this research at Kenwood, including increasing collaboration and coteaching between classroom teachers and ESL teachers. She is proud of the successful co teaching partnership she has with fellow presenter Kayla Adams! She also had the opportunity to be a supervising teacher for a student teacher in Spring 2022. This experience not only helped develop the skills of a future ESL teacher, but it also helped Tracy reflect and refine on her own teaching.
Aimee’s education includes a Bachelor’s in Communication from UofL and a teaching certification from Indiana Wesleyan University. Her education also includes a Masters in Teacher Leadership with a concentration in ESL. She has been a teacher with JCPS for over ten years. For the last five years she has been at Kenwood Elementary as an ESL teacher and currently serving as the only Family Ambassador in JCPS. She helped Kenwood Elementary to become the first school ever to reach 100% on School CNXT. She uses her ESL background to drive her work as a family ambassador. Focusing on meaningful communication with families and inclusion for special populations with diverse needs. She helped Kenwood submit evidence and provided teacher input for the National School of Character award. She was a 2021 Lighthouse Leadership award winner highlighting her work with families during the pandemic. She was also recognized for her attendance efforts to keep Kenwood's families connected during virtual learning. She recently led the charge to help Kenwood become the first school in the state of Kentucky to be family friendly certified. That certification includes several of her projects that focus on the importance of community partners. Aimee has been featured on several podcast episodes of Be The Leaders You Deserve focusing on family engagement and has been a panelist for School CNXT and JCPS Family Engagement webinars.