1: We believe that we are better together.
In our increasingly diverse, but deeply divided city and country, we need a way to move forward together. We believe that there are no better people than our city’s children to lead the way, and no better place to bring together children of different backgrounds than in school.
A rigorous body of research has demonstrated the significant benefits to all students educated in racially and socioeconomically integrated settings.
Students in racially and socioeconomically integrated schools:
- exhibit higher academic achievement and higher academic growth;
- become more critical and flexible thinkers by being exposed to different perspectives;
- are more likely to enroll in college, report higher earnings, and demonstrate better long-term health outcomes; and
- can increase empathy and reduce racial bias.
And yet, New York City’s school system remains among the country’s most segregated. While District 3 is racially and socioeconomically diverse, it is the most segregated school district in the city, and has the largest student performance gap along socioeconomic status lines. Its public middle schools also have the highest level of screened admissions, meaning that factors like students’ state test scores, behavior, attendance, and school-specific exam scores can be used to select students for admissions.
We want to help change this reality.
We believe that children of different backgrounds should be in school together, and that the diversity created in an unscreened environment benefits all students in profound ways.
KIPP has an extensive track record of running successful schools with an unscreened student population. We aim to combine this experience with the research base on adolescent learning to create an academically rigorous, intentionally integrated and unscreened school that represents the diversity of District 3, where all students can thrive, no matter their backgrounds.
2: We believe kids deserve an academically rigorous school that nurtures their minds, bodies, and hearts.
Adolescence today is undergoing rapid change. Academically, middle school has increasingly been focused on narrow test preparation skills, leading to less creative, critical, and flexible thinking. Physically, with the decline of consistent physical education, kids in school are more sedentary than ever. Emotionally, rates of teen anxiety, depression, and suicide are growing dramatically as adolescents report profound feelings of disconnection in a connected age.
We are designing a school that incorporates rich, rigorous, and relevant academics; a robust enrichment program; consistent physical conditioning; a focus on identity, relationships, and belonging; and regular practice of meditation – all informed by the research base on adolescent development.
3: We believe students should be leaders in their own education.
As educators who have worked with middle school students for a combined 30+ years, we believe that adolescents are given too few opportunities for leadership. In classrooms, we will encourage students to co-lead and co-create both the systems and routines of the classroom and the learning of content, leading to deeper learning and ownership. Across the school, we will amplify student leadership through peer mentorship and student government. Beyond the school’s walls, we envision our students critically analyzing and civically engaging in important issues facing our communities.
Our academic programming is based on 25 years of proven results in KIPP NYC middle schools, and includes:
Hands-on, inquiry-based curriculum empowering students to analyze and approach problems like scientists and engineers
English Language Arts
Reading, analyzing, and writing based on high-quality diverse texts
Rigorous, college preparatory math curriculum, including Algebra I Regents offered in 8th grade
A combination of history, social studies, and civic action where students grapple with major topics in US History and current events through discourse, writing, and debate
Small group reading instruction at each student’s instructional reading level
Differentiated instruction in the least restrictive environment by certified learning specialists, including ICT, SETSS and all mandated services as indicated on a student’s IEP
Our “Beyond Block” occurs 4 times per week during the school day and includes:
- Music theory and performance
- STEM (science projects and robotics)
- Speech, Debate, and Rhetoric
- Social entrepreneurship
- Spanish (in 7th and 8th grade)
- Independent Study (opportunities to pursue individual passions)
We will partner with external organizations to help each student develop a personalized portfolio of out-of-school activities (art, sports, music, debate, theater, dance, robotics, coding, etc.). We will invest in and prioritize students’ exposure to the unparalleled resources of NYC.
Spending dedicated time quieting the mind can have tremendous benefits for students. At the beginning of the school year, each student will receive instruction in meditation by a trained professional. This practice is not linked to religious affiliation, and it will be optional for students to participate.
Physical fitness will occur 4 times per week. This class will not be sport-specific, but will instead be a consistent strength, conditioning, and movement program that sets the foundation for increased athleticism, injury and obesity prevention, and healthy self-care and body image. Formal sports teams will be offered after school.
Social Emotional Learning
Students will have dedicated time to engage in powerful individual, relationship-, and community-building experiences, which emphasize self-reflection, identity development, and character growth. Each week, students will then gather in groups of 16-18 to collectively reflect on those experiences in a Community Circle. KIPP Beyond faculty will also engage in their own regular Faculty Circles as part of our Wednesday professional development.
A Day In the life
School Hours: Our school day runs from 7:55AM to 4:15PM on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and 7:55AM to 1:30PM on Wednesdays (in order to provide time for staff professional development).
Optional Breakfast: On all days, breakfast is served at 7:25AM for all students.
Afterschool Programming: Families have the option of enrolling their child in our after school program, which will run until 6PM every day, including Wednesday. We plan to offer a variety of activities during this time, such as visual arts, dance, chess, robotics, and homework help, along with athletics such as flag football, basketball, volleyball, and soccer.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
7:55AM English Language Arts
10:40AM Guided Reading
11:10AM Snack / Break
12:25PM Physical Fitness
12:55PM Lunch & Recess
3:30PM Beyond Block (enrichment)
4:15PM Dismissal Start of After School (until 6PM)
7:55AM Whole School Community Meeting
8:30AM Community Circle Work
9:15AM *English Language Arts
12:00PM Meditation and Community Circle
1:30PM Dismissal Start of After School (until 6PM)
*Note: Given the shortened school schedule, we will offer three academic blocks on a rotating basis each Wednesday. The above schedule outlines a day where Civics would not be offered, for example.
Joseph Negron, KIPP Beyond Founding Principal
In 2001, Joe graduated from Harvard University and joined Teach for America, where he taught middle school math and science in Washington Heights. He was named one of five national finalists for the Sue Lehmann Award for Excellence in Teaching based on the achievement of his students. Joe earned his M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2003.
For the past 15 years at KIPP, Joe has taken on various roles from teacher to principal to Managing Director of Middle Schools. Next year will be his tenth year as a school principal. Joe lives in Manhattan with his wife and three boys, all of whom will attend KIPP Beyond once they are old enough to do so.
Jeff Li, KIPP Beyond Founding Teacher
A graduate of Stanford University, Jeff is entering his 18th year in education after switching careers following 5 years at the Boston Consulting Group. As the son of immigrants who never felt fully American, he has worked in communities across New York City to help empower students who have traditionally been marginalized in American society. He has been recognized as an American Star of Teaching by the US Department of Education, and his students have gone on to attend some of the nation’s most selective institutions, including Columbia, Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown, and Howard, as well as the well-regarded public CUNY/SUNY colleges in New York.
Jeff most recently taught 8th grade math at KIPP Infinity in Harlem. In 2016, Jeff’s students were the highest performing 8th grade math cohort from any non-selective public charter or district school in New York City. For five consecutive years, 8th grade students at KIPP Infinity outperformed students in the affluent community of Scarsdale on the NYS math exam, and have earned high school credit on the Algebra I Regents exam, putting them on a path to take AP Calculus.
His work at KIPP Infinity on emphasizing character and social justice was recently featured in the book Natural Born Learners by Alex Beard. Jeff has also engaged in education projects overseas, working with Teach For Thailand, Education Changemakers in Australia, and the African Leadership Academy in South Africa. Jeff earned his M.A. from the Bank Street College of Education and lives in Manhattan with his wife and their young daughter.
Brandi Womack, Founding Director of Operations
Brandi Womack graduated from Howard University and received her Master of Public Administration from NYU Wagner. She recently served as the operational leader for the in-person learning center at KIPP NYC College Prep High School that supported nearly 200 students from all KIPP NYC schools with remote learning during the pandemic. She also leads operations for the weekly food pantry offered at KIPP NYC schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem, and Washington Heights, giving out over 1500 meal kits per week. Prior to joining KIPP NYC, Brandi served as a Director of Operations for Harlem Village Academies K-8 school for six years and one year as Interim School Leader. She has been a proud member of the Harlem community for over 14 years and is excited to be a part of building a school that represents the true identity of the Harlem neighborhood.
Kareena Pamani, Founding Math Learning Specialist
Kareena Pamani graduated from New York University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, Special Education, and Psychology. She went on to teach elementary school in East Harlem before receiving her M.S.Ed in International Educational Development from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to teaching in a classroom setting, she has worked one-on-one with a young adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder to develop daily living skills, and she has developed an individualized home-based math program for another student with a learning disability. Kareena is passionate about social justice and disrupting educational inequity both across the United States and globally.