TEACHER OF THE MONTH — Helena Park’s Kayla Hightower uses all strategies to engage students

Published 12:28 am Wednesday, September 27, 2023

NEDERLAND — Third grade teacher Kayla Hightower is known for always looking for new strategies and resources to engage her students.

She is also a team leader of a character-based program at Helena Park Elementary, where she has taught for five years.

Her work does not go unnoticed.

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Principal Charlotte Junot said Hightower is always looking for ways to engage students, as well as finding the best materials and resources.

“She’s always looking for innovative ideas to excite her students, just like today,” Junot said. “The lesson is a novel study, so they’re able to incorporate the learning objectives that they need but are doing it in a fun, engaging way.”

Junot was referring to Hightower, who, along with teachers Theresa Austin and Monica Bobbitt, were outside discussing the novel, The Chalk Box Kid.

The lesson was briefly interrupted by Daren Granger, general manager at Philpott, who thanked Hightower for her work educating the students, then announced she was named Teacher of the Month, sponsored by Philpott Motors.

For earning the title, he presented Hightower with a $500 gift card and said she is in the running for Teacher of the Year, which is awarded in December and comes with a $1,000 gift card.

Junot said Hightower is a team leader for the school’s Capturing Kids Hearts programs, which is a social, emotion-learning program.

As part of the program Hightower comes up with activities for the students. Last week her classes wrote affirmations to parents and she helped students drop them off to parents as they picked their children in the afternoon.

Hightower has been a teacher for eight years, five of them at Helena Park. She is teaching English Language Arts Reading and social studies.

Hightower was shocked to be named teacher of the Month and gave credit to her team of fellow third grade teachers.

“I couldn’t be the teacher I am without them,” Hightower said.