Kindergarten teacher Melissa Salkeld holds high expectations for the youngest learners at Prettyboy Elementary School in Freeland, Maryland. She connects concepts to real life, helping students practice specific strategies, incorporate precise vocabulary, and demonstrate their learning. Salkeld often divides the class into small groups, allowing students to work collaboratively as she moves from table to table, differentiating to meet each child’s strengths and needs. Students use manipulatives, checklists of success criteria, and technology like audiobooks, First in Math and Wixie to move toward mastery of reading, numeracy and other age-appropriate skills. Salkeld’s pupils show consistent growth each year and leave her class prepared to succeed in higher grades.
Salkeld brings innovative practices to her classroom, with a strong focus on social and emotional learning (SEL). She has studied Conscious Discipline, a trauma-informed, evidence-based SEL methodology, and threads its strategies throughout her practice. With respect, caring and genuine love, Salkeld strengthens her students’ social emotional skills, coaches other teachers on managing behavioral issues, and shares academic and emotional support techniques with parents so they can build children’s strengths at home. A strong advocate for children, especially those with special needs, Salkeld stresses equity and believes all students should have equal opportunities to learn and succeed in her class.
As a member of Prettyboy’s school progress planning team, Salkeld helped design professional development for staff on responsive instruction, including developing data stories, exploring learner variability, and creating equitable learning environments. She has introduced colleagues to SEL strategies that support students’ self-regulation and executive functioning, including mindful breathing, classroom commitments, and student jobs. Salkeld welcomes colleagues for learning walks and has led professional development for the district on executive functioning. Visitors from the district, University of Delaware and Johns Hopkins University have observed Salkeld’s implementation of academic and SEL best practices. Through a partnership with Universal Design for Learning Implementation and Research Network, educators from around the U.S., Australia and Canada have visited Salkeld’s classroom.
Salkeld earned a bachelor’s in early childhood education from Villa Julie College in 2006 and a master’s in curriculum, instruction and assessment in 2013 from Walden University.
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