Along with reading, math, science and social studies, Katelyn Baker's third-graders at Battle Academy in Chattanooga learn another very important skill: how to critique each other's work. Baker acts as the facilitator as students share their work in front of the class, then listen as their peers offer both compliments and respectfully deliver suggestions for improvement. Calm, quiet and strong, Baker creates a safe environment in her classroom where students know they can trust her and each other.
Known as a skilled differentiator, Baker provides students menus from which they can choose their activities and offers multiple assessment options and exit tasks. Under her guidance and careful management, students work independently, stay organized and engaged, and self-assess their learning continuously. As a result, Baker's students at all learning levels show consistently high growth.
As the third-grade team lead, Baker plays a key role in the school's efforts to foster teacher leadership. She represents her grade level at school meetings and oversees the grade's day-to-day operations. Baker also leads team planning each week for her grade level and provides feedback on lesson content and pacing. Baker serves on the school leadership team and has worked on committees that focus on arts integration, Socratic seminars, and multiple intelligences. As the school's literacy support representative, Baker is responsible for sharing key literacy information from the district with her school. She leads best practices sessions for intermediate teachers and mentors student teachers from local universities.
Baker's communications skills are an asset in forging relationships with parents; she goes beyond conferences and open houses to connect with them. At the beginning of the year she asks parents to write a letter about their children, sharing how they work best and where they may need help. Baker solicits information about parents' strengths, skills, and interests to find ways to include them in classroom activities.
Baker earned both a Bachelor of Science in early childhood education and a Bachelor of Arts in foreign language (Spanish) from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2010.
"I just love the curiosity, positivity and optimism [elementary-age] children bring to the classroom. It's an incredible..." (read more)