Monday, January 11, 2010

KIPP TEAM in Newark

How about the warriors at KIPP TEAM in Newark?  Here's an email from a first-year TFA corps member in New Orleans, Paul Astuto, who visited the school recently:


I visited KIPP TEAM academy for the second time today to re-visit the incredible work going on there. As a teacher in a public school, it is easy to lose sight of the caliber of excellence a school needs to close the achievement gap and it is even easier to start to question whether a school can be run efficiently enough to close the gap. Seeing TEAM in action proves that it is possible and energizes me to make it happen.

I cannot help but be in awe of an organization that is not only good at educating its students but also of marketing and promoting itself better than most Fortune 500 companies. KIPP truly is an incredible organization and the nation needs many more people like those individuals who work at TEAM.

By the way, let me let you in on one of my favorite distinctions between TEAM and my school. At TEAM, as you know, the office where all of the KIPP people from HR to development work (Room 9) is located in the first floor hallway directly across from the lunchroom. The doors to this room are always open as are the windows. It is a symbol to me of how the staff at KIPP are completely dedicated to the kids and seek to be around them at all times in contrast to my school where the office is closed off from the kids and teachers (including myself, at points) seek isolation from the students. In fact, I watched today as volunteers and KIPP staff who have other day time jobs left their posts to come and work in reading and writing classrooms to give the kids even more individual support and attention. I can't imagine the outcry at my school if A outside volunteers were let in to help kids or B (God forbid) someone suggested that an administrator or other staff member step foot in the classroom and take an interest in helping a child.

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