Melissa Slater is a Curriculum and Professional Learning Designer who is energized by the day to day work that happens in schools. She enjoys designing curriculum and coaching teachers as they work to co-create their classroom culture with students and implement research-based instructional practices that support both their academic and social-emotional needs.
Education happens in a variety of settings and Melissa’s teaching experience reflects this diversity. As a GED teacher with Literacy Chicago she learned about the need for personalized learning and structured opportunities for students to build their skills. As a Social Studies teacher at transfer high schools in Brooklyn, she learned that high quality instruction and relevant, real world curriculum can help students to re-engage in their education.
As a behavior specialist in a small neighborhood school on the Southside of Chicago, she learned about the importance of building deep, meaningful relationships with students and their families. As a prevention specialist/ crisis counselor at a non-secure detention facility she learned about the need for acknowledging the deep trauma of growing up in a society that devalues your existence and explicitly teaching social-emotional skills. All of these experiences continue to live at the core of Melissa’s coaching and design practices.
As a teacher, she felt the importance of being respected as a professional and that time was her most valuable commodity. She strives to ensure that educators feel the time spent together is both productive and meaningful for their professional growth. The development of a personalized approach to instructional coaching is an essential part of Melissa’s work with educators where they work together to push boundaries while also recognizing and promoting the physical and emotional well-being of teachers. This connection to teachers and the reality of life in schools is at the forefront of her mind when designing curriculum.
If you surveyed Melissa’s nieces and nephews they would say she is the favorite (her five siblings and their spouses may disagree). Traveling has become a core part of Melissa’s quest to live a fulfilling life. Her most meaningful experience over the years was being awarded a Fund for Teachers Fellowship where she studied ethnic cleansing in the Balkans for a summer. She is on a decade long quest to read a book from every country in the world and is always looking for recommendations.