Kamri Williams, KIPP Indy Legacy High’s social worker, shares her personal connection to her work and what the day-to-day is like as a staff member at KIPP Indy Legacy High. Questions and answers were edited for space and clarity.

Tell us about yourself. What path led you to joining to the founding team of KIPP Indy Legacy High?

I grew up on the far east side of Indianapolis and spent the majority of my education within Indianapolis Public Schools. I have a deep appreciation for those schools and I always knew I wanted to work with children in some capacity. Shortly after starting college and reflecting on the work of my middle and high school social worker, I chose to pursue a degree in School Social Work. Since I had such a positive experience in public schools, it was my goal to return and repay the great care and education I had received. In my last semester of graduate school, I came across KIPP Indy ‘s opening for a social worker. I was really excited about the position after I realized KIPP Indy Legacy High is located in the same neighborhood my mother grew up in. I also resonated with the goals and mission of the school and felt like they were extremely close to that of my high school experience.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

A typical day for me involves providing students with brief individual counseling, goal setting and monitoring, crisis response, attending case conferences, and connecting students and families to resources. I see my work impact students in the day-to-day by supporting students with their emotional regulation skills, providing a safe haven, and acting as a confidant and personal mentor. Additionally, I have seen my work impact students by being able to provide them with resources they need such as food items and hygiene supplies.

How do you partner with families and community organizations to meet our students’ needs?

I partner with families and community organizations to meet our students needs by building connections and sustaining partnerships. For example, I pursue outside funding from the community to support our access to resources. We recently received a $2,500 grant from the Children’s Bureau, which will allow us to be able to continue providing students with take-home pre-packaged meals and snacks.

What is your favorite thing about being on Legacy High’s founding staff?

My favorite thing about being on Legacy High’s founding staff is that I get to influence the culture of the school. To me, school culture is the way we all work and interact with one another as a staff as well as the beliefs and values we bring to our shared work. I strive to positively influence Legacy High’s school culture by treating my coworkers, students, and families with respect, care, and kindness. 

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a staff member who is new to KIPP Indy?

One piece of advice I would give to a staff member who is new to KIPP Indy is to prioritize building relationships with students and staff early on and to know the community in which you are working.