MEET THE COMMUNITY: JENNY HOWELL

Senior Chemistry Teacher and Student Success Coach, Ms. Jenny Howell. 

Tell us about your new role and what you are most excited about.
Student Success Coach is a new position in the Student Success Centre at Elmwood School. In this role, I will be working one-on-one and with small groups of students in grades 6-12 to help students develop their executive functioning skills such as organization, time management, and goal-setting. I am most excited about the opportunity to help students better understand their own learning processes, and partner to build their repertoire of strategies. It is well known that executive functioning skills are essential for student success across all subjects. When students have a set of tools that work for their individual needs, they truly can reach their full potential as learners.

What experience (work or otherwise) has best prepared you for this role?
When I was in university, I had a job teaching students how to prepare for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). In addition to teaching chemistry content, in this role, I was also responsible for sharing test-taking strategies such as how to navigate multiple-choice questions efficiently. When I began teaching high school, I realized that learning strategies were rarely explicitly taught to students. I began incorporating these lessons into my courses, which received very positive feedback from students including a University of Chicago Outstanding Educator Award in 2017. These experiences have pushed me to learn more about how to help students develop executive functioning strategies and skills. Through my role as Student Success Coach, I will have the opportunity to support students in developing these skills in a wider range of grades and subject areas.

What is your favourite thing about Elmwood?
My favourite thing about Elmwood is the amazing community of staff, students, and parents. Everyone is so welcoming and will take time out of their day to check in with you and let you know they care. As a relatively new member of the Elmwood faculty, I couldn’t believe how quickly I felt at home in this community! The students in particular continuously amaze me with their passion for learning, the impressive initiatives they start, and their curiosity about the world around them. 

If you could choose one superpower to have, what would it be? How would you best use it
Most days, I wish I had the power to be in two places at once! There are so many activities and events happening at Elmwood that I haven’t been able to participate in yet. I would sit in on one of Ms. Chun’s art classes, attend a Duke of Ed. winter camping trip with the Gr. 10s, and watch Elmwood students compete in person at OFSAA!

What is one thing that would surprise people about you?
People are often surprised to find out that art is one of my hobbies. They expect me to be very scientific in my personal life, but after thinking very analytically all week, I find the creative outlet of making art very balancing. Over the past five years, I have taken a number of art courses, including oil and acrylic painting, multimedia, abstract drawing, and glassblowing.