Alisa Rolf: A holistic approach to data-driven growth
Updated: Apr 14
When you get your master’s degree in hotel and restaurant management from the University of Houston, what’s your next step? Well, if you’re Alisa Rolf of Harmony School of Science Austin, you teach! While getting her Master’s degree, Alisa worked as a teaching assistant and realized her true passions lay in teaching.
Alisa Rolf focuses on a student-centric classroom where building relationships is a priority. “Through focus goals, my students can identify their own strengths and weaknesses,” said Alisa. “They can monitor their own growth … and it teaches them accountability and to be motivated and successful.”
Alisa relies heavily on data to determine student mastery levels which helps her identify how to teach specific objectives. Alisa isn’t the only one who benefits from that data. With students setting and monitoring their own goals, this data helps empower students and allows them to be engaged in their own success.
There’s more to a classroom than data, though. Alisa noted that “building relationships with each student means taking time to listen, spending quality time with them, and teaching them perseverance.” She values holistic growth more than anything. Alisa works to see how each student learns as an individual, doing her best to cater to each student’s individual educational needs.
Alisa also engages her students through hands-on math games and storytelling via amusing word problems. Once her students have a concept mastered, it isn’t over. The tables turn, and Alisa’s students have to teach her the concepts! Beyond that, Alisa’s students teach each other to help fill in any knowledge gaps with partner exercises. “Students love to teach; they love to show what they know,” she said.
With the emphasis on engaging learning and partner activities, this makes for a noisy classroom. That doesn’t bother Alisa by any means; she sees this as proof that her students are engaged. This noise and activity level supports her student’s overall mastery of the concepts discussed daily.
Photos courtesy of Alisa Rolf