DeSoto County School District's Michelle Cummings is the technology coach you dream of having. Thrilled by a puzzle, she delights in helping teachers find solutions that will work in a real classroom and prove helpful to real students.
It's no secret that this year has been unusual and somewhat stressful across the board. So we asked Michelle to pump us up a little—to give us some good advice for staying positive in uncertain times. And like always, Michelle delivers.
- What are your goals for this year, Michelle?
Eliminate fear. For at least one teacher—help overcome the fear of technology to allow for growth. There is so much fear in the world—especially this year. Classroom technology should inspire learning, not induce fear.
- Where do you find purpose or motivation? What motivates you each day?
The excitement of discovering and sharing new ways to complete a seemingly daunting task.
- What is the best advice you’ve heard for this school year?
Let go of “perfect” and offer grace.
- What is the best advice you’ve given this year?
Breathe. Yes, it is the same. It just looks different.
- Who do you go to if you need to be pumped up?
Does my daughter Bettie count? She still thinks I’m magic; She helped me wire a laptop cart after hours this week and she thought it was the best!
A kindergarten class is always nice! They usually say 'thank you' as one big voice. Sometimes I tighten a cable and they get so excited to see a monitor turn on — and this week, I got to work with the most positive teacher; it gives me hope to listen in on a great teacher with a lesson for little people.
- What can you do today that you weren’t capable of doing a year ago?
I learned to make biscuits- and raised a sour dough starter! Oh! We got a new LMS 🤦🏼♀️ I can envision every button without a computer. And my watch measures how long I wash my hands!
Seriously, I am learning to accept that there are many things we cannot predict, plan for or problem solve.
- What is the last thing you celebrated?
Ha! We just got new interactive panels installed— they’re beautiful and require zero software installation— but the real win became apparent when the very first teacher walked up to the board, tapped it, and without hesitation, opened and annotated the same bell work document she’d been using when the installation crew interrupted. Before our training, without her computer, using new technology, this teacher was able to instruct her students exactly the way she wanted.
That’s instructional technology— it just works with the teacher to improve instruction.
Michell Cummings is the Classroom Technology Coach for all Olive Branch and Center Hill Schools (9 total!).
SchoolStatus is the district-wide communication tool that integrates key student data in order to increase communication among educators, district administrators and student families. The company’s solution aggregates individual student data, such as state assessments, attendance and grades in an easy-to-visualize format and offers the option to communicate with student families via call, text or email. Through SchoolStatus, millions of communications have occurred on the classroom, campus and district level.