ExCEL Award: Dunn Elementary teacher stresses communication skills


by Gary Roedemeier


Posted on October 30, 2013 at 7:15 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – In a rare moment in Kim Slusher’s classroom at Dunn Elementary, 5th graders are using paper and pencil.

In the high tech world of IPads and Smartphone’s, the students are asked to focus on storytelling.

They can write stretched out on the floor, propped up on a pillow or at the conventional desk but write they must.

“They have to write. That, sometimes is just the way it is. I tell them, you have to do it. Sometimes they don’t like it. When you’re grown up and you go to college and you get a job, you’re going to have to be able to communicate through written form. You know, e-mails and attachments they have to be able to do that proficiently,” Slusher said.

Slusher is preparing students to be proficient for middle school and beyond.

She started teaching in 1995 but that’s a light year away in terms of technology.

Her ability to adapt to change and to lead other teachers in new teaching methods brought her to her ExCEL award moment.

New technology in Slusher’s classroom could be financed by the ExCel teacher grant from LG&E and KU.

For a teacher, the ExCEL award means much more.

Dunn principal Patti Barron was a recipient of the award in 1992. She said it meant more because it meant that judges from outside the school validated her teaching efforts.

“For other people to see that in just a slice of time to capture something about you, an essence in you, that speaks about your passion for this work,” Barron said. “Kim has a passion for this work.”

It is a passion for teaching and a passion for public education that seems to never end.

These 5th graders are the latest to benefit from that passion and Kim Slusher stays up late to make sure they succeed.

“I spend many nights, I’m a night owl, so I spend many nights looking for cool videos to share with the kids or websites we can learn from to help grab their attention,” she said.

It will grab their attention and spur their discussion. It’s not a pencil and paper classroom anymore – well, maybe just for one day.