Key takeaways

  • Dr. Tara Kristoff, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction at Rock Falls Elementary School District 13, uses Satchel Pulse in her district.
  • Using our Skills solution can help drive data-informed decisions in districts of all sizes and locations, including small, rural schools.

Dr. Tara Kristoff is leading the charge to bring Social Emotional Learning into her district's classrooms. With Satchel Pulse, Dr. Kristoff has been able to make data-driven decisions to ensure that all students have access to the best possible education. In this blog post, we will explore how Satchel Pulse has helped Rock Falls Elementary School District 13 make data-driven decisions, how our reliable customer support and valuable student insights have improved education in the district, and how our autonomous curriculum library has provided support to students in rural districts.

Improving social emotional skills with Satchel Pulse

Pursuing a passion for education in Rock Falls Elementary School District

Dr. Tara Kristoff is the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction at Rock Falls Elementary School District 13. She previously held positions as a director of curriculum coordinator and teacher in classrooms for eight years, where she specialized in middle school sciences. Prior to this, she was an attorney for five years practicing both state and federal law in Illinois. Her passion for education started during her last semester of college at the University of Illinois, when she took on an overlapping education course with Secondary Education Majors going to teach High School English, giving her the opportunity to learn how to create lesson plans and teach lessons that sparked her interest towards pursuing an Education Degree. Currently, Dr. Kristoff is responsible for three main buckets: instruction, curriculum, and assessments; all centered around improving student success by making data-driven decisions. 

How Satchel Pulse helped Dr. Kristoff, her district, and her students

Making data-driven decisions is at the heart of what Dr. Kristoff’s district does. That's why they were so excited about Satchel Pulse – this powerful tool helped them make smarter decisions faster than ever before.

They first learned about Satchel Pulse in April 2020 when one of the sales representatives from Satchel came to their district to present the product. At that time, Satchel Pulse only had a prototype version of the software – but the district was interested in further development that would include a library of resources for students and better report features. Joe Rose, our incredible Vice President of District Partnerships, was able to meet their expectations and go above and beyond in fulfilling their requests. “So far, we're very pleased with what's been achieved,” says Dr. Kristoff.

Improving children's critical life skills with Satchel Pulse

Data analysis training promotes student success - even in rural schools

In rural Illinois, 850 students are attending school in a district that has experienced a COVID transition. This means that they are transitioning from a traditional school system to one that uses data more extensively in order to assess students and measure their progress. Due to the limited time teachers have to observe and teach students, inaccurate ratings can occur. In order to ensure that their students felt affirmed and had a renewed sense of self-efficacy under the COVID transition, administrators employed special data interpretation training so that staff could pinpoint where they needed help on an individual basis.

Through careful analysis of incoming data, teachers were able to group kids into different tiers based on their strengths and weaknesses as well as determine appropriate interventions for each one. Implementing our Skills solution has enabled teachers in this district to identify areas needing improvement among their student body faster than ever before in order to best serve them. By engaging teachers early on in the COVID transition process, administrators were able to provide them with the support they needed so that their students would have success during this difficult time.

Satchel Pulse's Skills solution

Using supportive services in rural districts

As a rural school district, Rock Falls has a different level of required SEL support than many other districts may have. Principals, social workers, and school counselors are all using Satchel Pulse data in order to identify students who may need additional assistance beyond what is currently offered through the school-wide SEL program.

However, simply looking at the collected data does not provide enough specificity on how students' individual needs should be addressed. In order to provide the level of support that each student requires, different needs must be grouped together in order for them to receive the appropriate attention. But for those that need general social emotional instruction in Tier One, at Rock Falls they receive weekly structured lessons focusing on the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and the five CASEL standards.

Getting the most out of our curriculum library

One of the most important aspects of a school's curriculum is ensuring that students are learning all the necessary information. This can be a difficult task when schools operate in different ways, with different levels of autonomy. However, our curriculum provides a level of autonomy to schools, no matter differently they may operate within the district. This allows for a wide variety of curriculum approaches and teaching styles.

For example, our curriculum includes traditional 20-25 minute lessons as well as short multimedia plans and student self-study activities. Gen Ed teachers will pull resources from Satchel Pulse's library when there is an identified need in one of their standards which will then be taught more than once a week to reinforce it throughout the process. Data and feedback are constantly being evaluated with the goal of closing any existing loops and ensuring students receive all necessary information correctly understood by them before moving on to the next topic or lesson.

We designed our solutions to be used by any school district that wishes to implement autonomous learning into their curriculum – regardless of their size or operational style. With Satchel Pulse, schools can finally achieve freedom from archaic teaching methods while still providing their students with the essential education they need.


In conclusion, the Rock Falls Elementary School District 13 has seen great success in its data-driven Social Emotional Learning program thanks to Satchel Pulse's solutions. Our reliable customer support and valuable student insights have improved education in the district, and our autonomous curriculum library with data-driven instruction has provided support to students in rural districts. We are confident that Dr. Tara Kristoff will continue to use her expertise to ensure that every student reaches their potential and has a successful future ahead of them.

Satchel Pulse and Rock Falls Elementary School Distict Looking for SEL resources? Check out The SEL Store - your one-stop-shop for high-quality SEL lessons and self-studies that foster self-awareness, empathy, and resilience for all students.

Author: Fern Dinsdale

Posted: 22 Feb 2023

Estimated time to read: 5 mins


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