Ashlee Hubbard-Heitz Student Support Coach Hixson
Posted on 10/25/2023
Ashlee Hubbard-Heitz Student Support Coach HixsonChattanooga, Tenn- Ashlee Hubbard-Heitz, the new Student Support Coach at Hixson High School, is already reshaping the culture and climate in her school. She previously worked as a US History teacher but says that she decided to make this transition because it’s “all of the things she loves about being an educator, all tied together.” Her passion for this work has made a huge difference, even though we are still early in the school year.

Across the district, the goal of Student Support Coaches is to ensure that all individuals – children and adults – feel fully supported while at school, which results in a more positive and constructive teaching and learning environment. At Hixson, Ashlee has had three main focuses: establishing a school culture with high expectations for positive behavior, working with individual students who need additional assistance, and ensuring teachers have needed support on responding to behavior and preserving their well-being.

Ashlee’s work on the culture at Hixson High started with revamping their advisory period. This school year, Hixson students start the day with a Connections Class. Teachers and students have used this time to make a pledge about how they’ll contribute positively to their school community, and more specifically how they’ll commit to being kind and respectful while at school. These commitments were written down on a paper chain, which is hanging up in the cafeteria at Hixson High so that school community members have a visual reminder throughout the school year.

Ashlee spoke about her love for being able to support both students and other teachers through her work, “I love that it is both, because you could have really amazing regulated students, but if you don’t also have that in adults, then you don’t have a healthy school.”

She works with individual students through both scheduled sessions and informal chats. These students could be portraying minor behavior challenges like talking out of turn in class or more extreme disruptive behaviors that could lead to suspensions, but she approaches all of them with the goal of getting to the root of the problem. Her goal is to identify and address the reason a student is displaying such behaviors so that she can work with them on how they regulate their emotions and increase their abilities to control their responses, which helps decrease the likelihood they might repeat the same mistakes.

Beyond students, Ashlee has been intentional about how her presence benefits educators as well. She’s able to jump into their classrooms to support individual students who a teacher isn’t able to respond to in the moment. This allows the teacher to continue their lesson, gives space to the student to regulate and reset, and keeps positive relationships among everyone intact. After particularly hard class periods, Ashlee has created a space in her office where teachers can take a moment to themselves to focus on their own well-being so that they feel better prepared to step back into the classroom. She’s also supported several teachers as “another set of eyes” to provide feedback on classroom and behavior management strategies, all with the goal of making sure both students and teachers feel that their classrooms are a welcoming environment that’s conducive to learning.

Ultimately, Ashlee believes her work is about making sure students know they always have an adult champion at Hixson High, and she thinks students throughout the building are starting to believe that even if she doesn’t know each of them yet. As we continue to implement Student Support Coaches, we believe this will make a long-lasting impact on the culture and climate at every school in Hamilton County.