Teachers are Learners Too


As a school district, we focus intently and constantly on how to help our students – all of our students – learn effectively.  What often gets overlooked is the degree to which the adults in our schools are also invested in their own continued learning.  Teachers, administrators and support staff actively participate in a myriad of professional development opportunities in an effort to build their knowledge base and refine their skills – all in an effort to more effectively develop the capacity of our students.

National Board Certified Teacher Kevin Gustafson
National Board Certified Teacher Kevin Gustafson

One shining example of this is the effort many of our teachers make in becoming “Nationally Board Certified.”  National Board Certification is a focused and complex process that involves rigorous learning, deep reflective practice, and application of that learning to their professional practice with students.  To attain certification, teachers must pass an assessment related to their specific content and develop three comprehensive portfolios that will be judged by a national panel of their peers and other education related professionals.  The process is both extensive and arduous.  While there are financial incentives and some limited supports available to teachers interested int he process, it isn’t free or easy!

We are fortunate to have eighteen (18) National Board Certified teachers in our Kelso schools.  The three most recently certified are Nicole Keeler (Butler Acres), Kirsta Anderson (Wallace) and Kevin Gustafson (Kelso High School).  Congratulations to these three and thank you to all 18 for their commitment to excellence in our profession!

“We are Kelso” means showing up!

Barnes Students with 95% Attendance or Better
Barnes Students with 95% Attendance or Better

Welcome to the first entry into The Bagpiper blog, my first entry into the blogging world.  The intent of this blog is to share the specific ways in which our Kelso School District staff and our community live out our “We are Kelso” spirit in support of increased student success.

For decades, employers have sought employees who, first and foremost, showed up.  Although highly skilled employees are important to the success of any enterprise, attendance and participation are universal prerequisites to success.  Showing up involves more than attendance; it involves engagement as well.  There are many examples in our schools that illustrate the Kelso way of showing up.

Barnes Elementary School staff are going to great lengths to encourage, notice and honor students with positive attendance.  Kelso staff members “show up” to support students’ and colleagues’ families in times of need, such as medical or family emergencies.  Kelso High School students raise funds to support agencies and families in our community.  Teachers travel across the boundaries of our school district to support the efforts of fellow teachers.  In each case, youth and adults are showing up to make good things happen in their community.

Why do they do this?  The answer is really complex, but is captured in a simple phrase – “We are Kelso!”

~ Glenn Gelbrich, Superintendent