Everyone wants to be in Kendra Borden’s class at Samuel Slater Junior High. If you were to peek inside, you’d see students sitting on top of and standing at their desks. You’d hear lively discussions and laughing among middle school kids who are truly engaged with learning.
Borden believes in the motto “those doing the talking are doing the learning.” She ensures that her students develop the skills to participate in group discussions through dialogue, relaxed seating arrangements and active listening, utilizing strategies like the Socratic seminar, jigsaw and graphic organizers.
Her positive rapport with students is built by nurturing relationships with them through consistent feedback, recognition of achievement and the use of effective personalized instruction. Borden’s techniques are so impactful that students and parents often request her as their teacher or advisor.
Through formative assessments of student learning, layered curriculum and independent reading, Borden drives classroom instruction to meet the needs of each student individually. These practices, in addition to her process of identifying current proficiency and establishing goals for improvement, have led to notable gains in student achievement.
In a school where 88 percent of the student body is on a free- and reduced-lunch program, Borden’s students made a 47-point gain in scaled reading scores last year. Schoolwide, writing scores increased by 14% during Borden’s two year leadership with the school’s writing curriculum committee. She often presents her work to staff and fellow teachers within the district.
Borden is an all-around leader at Samuel Slater and her colleagues view her as a passionate and knowledgeable educator who “builds lives.” She’s seen as a “golden thread” that weaves together the diverse tapestry of students and teachers, both academically and personally.
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