Teaching the whole child is at the core of KIPP NYC’s mission of creating a joyful, academically rigorous environment that sets students up to be ready for any college, career, or life challenge. It’s this mixture of strong core values and amazing talent that has set us up for success in 2020 and beyond.
One teacher helping students reach their goals is Maya Del Angel, a phenomenal educator at KIPP Washington Heights Elementary. Originally from Texas, Maya found her calling to education after working in the business sector for 10 years. What has kept her at KIPP for the past eight years? She says it’s all about our core values. Maya believes that academic intelligence isn’t the only characteristic that determines a child’s future success. “If they have certain characteristics,” she says, “like perseverance, determination, assertiveness and taking initiative; these characteristics can catapult them in whatever profession that they would want. We work to make sure they have good character, that they can have a conversation, have respect for themselves and confidence within themselves to communicate with others and share their feelings.”
So how has KIPP met the challenges of 2020 when it comes to closing the achievement gap? We knew it was important to provide students and families a safe place to learn, whether virtually, or in person. In October, KIPP NYC launched the Learning Center, housed at KIPP NYC College Prep High School which offers a small group of students in grades K-12 a destination to learn virtually with the support of our educators. This is where Maya has continued her work, engaging with KIPP’s youngest students to make sure they’re staying on track, despite all the challenges. “I love being able to be in a space where the constant energy is centered around growth,” she says of her work at the Learning Center.
One of the newest additions to our Regional Operations team, Brandi Womack, has also brought her talents to the Learning Center. Her love for logistics and students is the perfect mix for this new project. “I am working on overseeing two different projects that are aligned,” Brandi says of the Learning Center and the food pantry that KIPP NYC established at the beginning of the pandemic. “We make sure that all kids are learning and that we reach every student. Educating a whole child isn’t possible if they are hungry or don’t have the tools, such as wifi access”. Learn more about Brandi and other amazing members of our team and family!
Not only are our educators focused on teaching the whole child but also taking care of the factors which could hamper this endeavor. The food pantry has been a resource for families as they navigate through yet another challenge this year. At KIPP NYC, we are humbled by the passion and dedication of our educators. As Maya says, “When the kids leave their homes, parents know that they’re as safe as possible” at KIPP NYC. Throughout all the uncertainty, we’ve worked hard to make families feel included, secure, and supported.