Year Honored: 2011Connally High School
At the time of the Award, Kristina Carssow was:Teacher
Connally High School
Subject(s) taught: English/Language, Social Studies, Art
Kristina Carssow is a multi-talented educator who has grown from a respected content-area expert into a widely sought-after authority on all aspects of instruction.
For three years prior to her campus position as master teacher for TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement, Carssow served as a classroom teacher as well as the lead teacher of Connally’s Freshman Cornerstone Academy. During that time, she oversaw the development of an interdisciplinary unit, “Highway Across Africa,” which included five content areas and involved student presentations to a panel of judges from the school and community.
In her TAP leadership role, Carssow helps teachers lead classrooms of structure and high expectations. Teachers are mentored regularly through weekly TAP “cluster group” professional development meetings, lesson modeling, field-testing strategies with groups of students, classroom observations and pre- and post-conferences. An integral part of the TAP school leadership team, Carssow works with fellow TAP school leadership team members, including the principal, to identify school goals and align strategies to meet specific student needs. She has also established and developed TAP policies for ninth- and tenth-grade teachers relating to grading, classroom management and student relationships.
Since Carssow assumed the master teacher position, Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) pass rates have increased 14 percent and scores for African-American students and those eligible for free and reduced-price lunch have leapt 20 percent. As a result of the collaborative ninth-grade teaching Carssow advocates, the passing rate for ninth-graders in world geography moved from 88 percent in 2008 to 92 percent in 2009.
Carssow helped write the Pflugerville ISD curriculum guide (“bundles”) and revises it annually. She also created campus-level committees and initiated a student-centric building-wide improvement plan. Memberships include the District Curriculum Alignment Team, District Pre-AP Vertical Alignment Team and the Principal’s Project Advisory Committee. Carssow was a featured presenter at the 2011 TAP Summer Institute.