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Educator Gains Valuable Experience as NMSI Coach

A Pennsylvania teacher realized her calling since becoming a part-time NMSI coach.

“It’s made very clear to me that my passion in education is in supporting teachers,” says Jennifer Caumo Shaw, an AP English and film analysis teacher at Chartiers-Houston High School in the Pittsburgh metro area.

NMSI coaches act as guides and subject matter experts for educators across the country participating in our programming. This happens through virtual one-on-one check-ins and groups of cohorts. Coaches also are full-time teachers – meaning they have firsthand, practical applications for what their mentees are experiencing. The coach schedule is designed to work around a teacher’s classroom needs and is supplemental income, continuing professional development and growth.

“Teachers are often on your own little lonely island,” Caumo Shaw says. “It’s been so amazing to help peers who are lost and struggling because I know that feeling.”

Any way she can alleviate the stressors other teachers are experiencing during this challenging year has given Caumo Shaw hope and strength to keep going in her own classroom.

One NMSI tool the English teacher finds useful is the on-demand learning modules because it allows teachers to move through the skills and strategies on their own time. She meets in the evenings with teachers to talk through adapting curriculum for a digital and hybrid (in-person and online) environment.

“I’m working with teachers to make the process and their lives a little easier,” Caumo Shaw says. “The NMSI curriculum allows them to take something they’re already using and hit the ground running because teachers truly don’t have time to plan everything.”

When NMSI’s College Readiness Program came to Caumo Shaw’s school, she was put in charge of implementing two new AP English courses – Language and Literature. “NMSI materials gave me a lot of hands-on experience with curriculum development, good mentoring and scaffolding,” she says. “My experience with having a NMSI mentor really shaped me, so when there was an opportunity to be an instructional coach, I jumped on it.”

She adds, “Without NMSI, I couldn’t have survived teaching two AP courses I hadn’t taught before.”

The number of students taking AP English courses has almost tripled at her school, Chartiers-Houston High, since implementing CRP. “NMSI really changed the culture in our district,” she says.

With everything going on in the world, the NMSI coach and teacher is finding hope in the NMSI community and the network it provides.

“When I’m doing the NMSI work, I feel like I have a purpose and am empowered to make professional decisions as an educator,” she says.  

Interested in becoming a part-time NMSI coach? Visit our Coaches page