The High School Tips module offers research-based suggestions and teachers’ experiences to help educators meet the needs of students in hybrid learning.  Using a trauma-informed approach, teachers in the module discuss building relationships, creating quality instruction and embedding SEL supports in virtual and in-person learning.


  1. Maintain a student-centered approach to learning, acknowledging the stress and trauma adults and students have and will continue to experience throughout the school year.
  2. Incorporate strategies in person and online to build relationships with students to support wellness and increase engagement in learning.
  3. Apply best practice models to online learning, create lessons based on essential skills, allow pacing of units to stay student centered, and establish a consistent routine for students.
  4. Provide organizational supports to students and families while attending to own needs.

High School Tips from MO DESE on Vimeo.

To view individual chapters, select the chapter from the choices on the right.

Reflective Questions:

  1. How will I balance attention to student wellness, relationship building and learning standards in hybrid models?
  2. What best practices do I rely on in the classroom, and how can I adapt them to suit an online platform?
  3. What organizational supports do my students need?  What do I need?
  4. In addition to a learning strategy, how can I use feedback as a tool for building relationships?
  5. Which state and national resources best support my goals and needs for the upcoming school year?

PowerPoint Presentation:

Module Presentation

Resource Document:

Module Resource Document


Kim Gutchewsky
HS English
Ladue School District
Zachary Hamby
HS English
Ava R-1 School District
Kevin Lay
Physics and PTLW
Gasconade Co. R-2
Jennifer Luker
HS Instructional Coach
Confluence Academies

Professional Biographies

Kim Gutchewsky

Kim Gutchewsky will begin her 27th year of teaching this fall, and she has been teaching English Language Arts at Ladue Horton Watkins High School for 21 years. Kim was her building, district and Missouri Regional Teacher of the Year in 2017, and she received the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award in 2018. Kim has worked with the Gateway Writing Project since 2000, and she is very grateful to that organization for its continued professional development. Kim received her undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia and her Masters of English in Literature from the University of Missouri, St. Louis.


Zachary Hamby

Zachary “Zak” Hamby, a 2020 Missouri State Teacher of the Year finalist, is a high-school English teacher in rural southern Missouri. Teaching in a high-poverty area, he believes in the power of education to enrich and improve his students’ lives.

Zak is also the author and illustrator of a variety of textbooks: the Mythology for Teens series, the Reaching Olympus series, and the Searching for America series—as well as titles for young readers, including The Hero’s Guidebook and Introduction to Mythology for Kids. He maintains two websites for teachers: with a special emphasis on mythology resources and with a wider focus on general English classroom resources. He also authors a blog, which focuses on creative teaching ideas.

Zak currently teaches English at Ava High School in Ava, Missouri, where he resides with his wife and two children.


Kevin Lay

Kevin Lay is a 9-12 STEM and science teacher at Gasconade Co. R-2. Kevin has been teaching for 17 years and was a 2019-2020 Missouri Teacher of the Year finalist and led a group of students to be honored as Samsung Solve for Tomorrow National Champions in 2019. His loves are God, his wife, his children, and the students he is honored to serve! Kevin is always looking for the next greatest experience that he can offer his students, whether it’s uncovering fossils in the Badlands, hiking the Costa Rican Rainforests or connecting them with experts in fields of STEM from all over the nation. In his downtime, he enjoys wrestling with his 8-year-old son, Carter and figuring out his 14-year-old daughter, Kendra. Kevin and his family recently started the next chapter of their lives in Florida, where he will continue teaching Marine Science and Earth and Space Science.


Jennifer Luker

Jennifer Luker is a fifteen year veteran teacher and winner of DESE 2018 Regional Teacher of the year. She holds degrees from the University of Missouri Columbia and St. Louis. She teaches Secondary Social Studies and is an instructional coach for the Confluence Academies School district located in downtown St. Louis. She has experience in mentoring, coaching, and providing youth with the tools and information to make educated decisions in their personal and professional life.