Name: Kim Kays
Position: Unconditional Education Coach at Montalvin Manor Elementary
What led you to your current position? After 10+ years as a teacher and several more as a school leader in low income schools, I saw the lack of support that teachers and schools get in learning about the effects of trauma on the brain and how to effectively teach and support all students. I wanted to help bring these vital resources and supports to the schools that need it most! I love that my role directly impacts the entire school community in a very tangible way. It’s great to get to focus on a few key culture and climate issues that make the biggest impact for all students to thrive.
Fun Fact/Quote: “I believe that education is the single most important civil rights issue that we face today. Because in the end, if we really want to solve issues like mass incarceration, poverty, racial profiling, voting rights...then we simply cannot afford to lose out on the potential of even one young person. We cannot allow even one more young person to fall through the cracks." -Michelle Obama
What does your average day look like? No day is ever the same, which is why I love it! But, it typically starts with a quick huddle with the Principal and Vice Principal to sync for the day. We walk the school campus and greet students as they enter for the morning. I spend some time at recess and lunches throughout the day facilitating games and play and doling out high fives and positive reinforcement. I have specials check ins with several students and help them set and work toward goals. Depending on the day, I may lead a Coordination of Services Team (COST) meeting, student council meeting, or Social Skills Group. I pop into classrooms throughout the day reinforcing school-wide norms, language, and expectations and check-in with teachers and students. I make some time each week to look at school-wide discipline data to look for trends and challenges and to ensure interventions are running consistently. At dismissal I’m back outside sending students off with a smile and a hug and making myself available for parents or teachers who want to touch base. After school I often lead trainings and staff meetings to help staff feel supported and improve their practice.
Why do you do this work? I do this work because as a teacher and school leader I desperately needed someone supporting me and my students in this way. When schools have access to Unconditional Education resources it makes a huge difference in the lives of students and families. They all deserve the best supports we can give and I’m there to make sure they know that!