Our teachers and staff work to draw out our students' innate curiosity every day in our classrooms, whether they’re examining a nonfiction book or creating a volcano for a science fair.  

The goal? To ensure the curiosity our students bring to the classroom is cultivated, not just in their time with KIPP, but for life. 

Luckily for our students, they have some great role models in our KIPP community. Whether they’ve completed graduate degrees or received a promotion, our teachers and families are making big moves to improve their careers and model lifelong learning for their students and children. 

Rodari Edwards 
Parent, KIPP TEAM Academy 

I graduated university in 2005 and started my career in the financial services industry, but I ultimately found that the work didn’t align with my value system. Joining the military had always been a bucket list dream for me, and in 2014, I enlisted as a medic in the New Jersey Army National Guard.

Since that time, I’ve helped service members process their medical clearances and ensured that Soldiers receive the medical tests they needed to deploy across the country and abroad. I was recently promoted to staff sergeant, so today I assist with the credentialing of military medical providers, maintain the department’s budget, assist with the continued Medical Readiness of soldiers and also manage the Army hearing program to support soldiers who were exposed to hazardous noise.

The military is an environment where you have to constantly learn new things and adapt to new problems. You always need to learn something new or understand a new regulation or process. I try to pass this mindset along to my kids and I believe that my children have benefitted from their teachers who try to foster that environment.

Ann Burke 
Math Teacher, KIPP Rise Academy

I recently completed a master’s degree in education policy and management at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). The courses that most resonated with me included one class on community and school partnerships and another on healing-centered student engagement.  

The partnerships course really gave me the tools I needed to implement strategies that connect with families and lead to systems at Rise that support community engagement. The course on healing-centered engagement gave me the space to think about how intergenerational trauma can impact teachers and students. I’m trying to bring this lens to my work as a teacher coach this year, and encourage teacher wellness and self-care. When adults in the building can prioritize self-care and community care, that positive impact trickles down to our students as well. 

I’ve always shared my curiosity with students. I'll come back to class after a professional development conference and share new math strategies I learned. During graduate school at HGSE, I showed them things like how I organized my assignments, and even shared my final statistics project. They live-streamed the graduation on YouTube, and my students watched! They’ve always been my biggest cheerleaders!

Kelon Givans 
Senior, KIPP Newark Collegiate Academy 
KIPP SPARK and TEAM Academy alumnus

This past summer, I was accepted and enrolled in the Summer@Brown program at Brown University. Walking into the week, it was a new experience and there was nobody there who I knew, so it really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I wound up making a lot of connections. 

I’ve always been passionate about math and science, which led me to enroll in the physics course. It was a good refresher from the course I took at NCA, because I know in college I’ll need to take a higher level physics course. Since I can remember, my favorite subject was math. At TEAM, my math teacher, Ms. V, really pushed me to do better. I am smart, but I’d never act smart and she helped me realize my potential. 

I think it’s important to have people who push you towards your goals. In the future, I’m thinking about studying engineering or accounting. I will be the first person in my family to attend college. Even when it’s stressful, I’ll keep learning for learnings’ sake. 

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