Hailey Couch’s kindergarten classroom at Madison Elementary in Norman, Oklahoma, runs like clockwork. Couch’s mastery of classroom management includes predictable routines, clear expectations, smooth transitions, effective lesson planning, and engaging instruction with both small groups and the whole class. She holds high expectations for all her students, including those with special needs, believing that the higher she sets the bar, the harder students will work to reach it. Couch keeps a binder with data on each student to help her differentiate instruction and track growth for every child. She seeks innovative and creative solutions when challenges arise, determined to create the best learning environment for each and every student.
Couch is a leader both at Madison and within Norman Public Schools. She has served on the kindergarten advisory board and early childhood advisory committee. Couch helped to revise the kindergarten report cards, realigning the standards-based report with new state academic standards. She hosts observers from around the district as part of the Fast Track to Classroom Management professional development training, opening her classroom to both new and career teachers to share best practices. She participates on Madison’s Climate Committee, focused on nurturing a positive school climate and creating enrichment activities for students, staff and families. Couch is a facilitator and trainer for Great Expectations, leading presentations and workshops over the summer to help educators develop approaches to improving school culture.
Several years ago, Couch traveled to China for a teacher exchange program with the University of Oklahoma’s Confucius Classroom. When the program sent a teacher to Oklahoma as part of the exchange, Couch welcomed her into the classroom. This was fitting as Madison sits in a neighborhood popular with international students working and studying at the university, and the student body includes many English language learners with up to 13 different native languages. The intern taught the children Chinese language and culture, while Couch schooled the Chinese teacher in American pedagogy and classroom expectations—an exchange that provided vast benefits on both sides.
Couch earned a bachelor’s in early childhood education from Oklahoma City University in 2013.
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