Mock Interview Day at KIPP Indy

At KIPP Indy our goal is to help our students and alumni develop the knowledge, skills, and character strengths they need to succeed throughout their education and in the competitive world beyond. One way that we provide this opportunity to students is through our annual Mock Interview Day, organized through the KIPP Through College (KTC) program, which supports all of our students and alumni on their path to and through college. During Mock Interview Day, volunteers have the opportunity to conduct mock interviews with our 7th grade students. Every 7th grade student participates in two interviews, giving them the opportunity to interact with adults from the community in a formal interview environment and practice their communication skills. Katie Johnson, a KTC counselor, leads the organization of this event for our students. “This event helps prepare our students for all types of interviews, including work and the individual high school placement interviews that all of our students complete in 8th grade. By giving our 7th graders the opportunity to practice their interview skills, it builds their confidence for when they have to do it for real and for when they are in other professional settings.” One aspect of Mock Interview Day that makes it truly special is the inclusion of community and business leaders from Indianapolis as interviewers. When asked why KTC looks for volunteers from the community rather than just having teachers conduct the interviews, she said, “By engaging members of our community rather than teachers, it creates a more authentic interviewing experience. This lets our students know that there are professionals in our community that look like them...

Meet KIPP Indy: Rashay Earl

Rashay Earl is a second grade teacher and grade level chair at KIPP Indy Unite Elementary. She is finishing her third year of teaching and has been with KIPP Indy since she started her career as a Teach For America corps member. A lifelong Ohioan and graduate of The Ohio State University, Rashay has fallen in love with the city of Indianapolis, our school, and her students. “The best part of working at KIPP Indy is definitely the kids,” says Rashay. She is passionate about helping our students succeed – both inside and outside the classroom. “They make it worthwhile to get up in the morning. I’m inspired and motivated by our KIPPsters.” Rashay goes on to reflect that although it is the students that motivate her to do this work every day, it is the support she receives as a teacher that keeps her coming back to KIPP Indy. She appreciates how KIPP Indy goes above and beyond to help teachers meet their personal and professional goals. “KIPP Indy encourages people to get ‘at-bats’ or practice in roles and opportunities of interest to them so that they can take on more and grow over the course of a school year. I constantly feel like I am being challenged to be the best possible teacher I can be for my students.” One of Rashay’s favorite experiences teaching has been her regular ‘Milkshakes with Ms. Earl’ dates with students. For this, she periodically selects a student who has been behaving or performing really well in class and she takes them to Steak ‘n Shake for a milkshake date. They discuss...

Guest Blog from KIPP Indy College Prep Principal Nick Perry

As the School Leader of KIPP Indy College Prep Middle, I am incredibly proud of our students, staff, and families for our “A” rating from the state based on last year’s achievement and remarkable growth by our students. Success is something we have to work for, not something that is given, so it is rewarding for all of us at KIPP Indy to see that hard work come to fruition. As a school community, we believe that all of our students will learn and achieve at high levels if given the opportunity. Building off our “A” rating last year, we have worked hard to take our programming to the next level throughout this year. On top of the core subjects we emphasize in our curriculum, we are excited about the unique opportunities we are able to offer our students to enrich their education, including our specials, extracurricular programs, and field lesson experiences. For instance, this year marks the first time our students have access to a computer science and coding class. In addition to becoming programming experts, they are developing important skills like critical thinking and problem-solving that they can apply to other classes as well. Additionally, through extra-curricular opportunities like our percussion ensemble, cooking club, and sports, our students are able to explore their interests and find new passions. Finally, during field experiences, we spend time with our students in the community at places like the Indianapolis Museum of Art and Indianapolis Repertory Theater, where students are exposed to new experiences, expanding their perspectives and challenging them think and learn in new ways. On top of these, each...

Meet KIPP Indy: Katie Speer

Katie Speer is the 8th grade science teacher and grade-level team leader at KIPP Indy College Prep Middle. This is her second year at KIPP Indy and her third year as a teacher. Katie grew up in Bloomington, IN and attended Indiana University before applying to Teach for America, which is how she started her teaching career in Indianapolis. She has loved her time with our school because, “everyone is on the same page at KIPP Indy. It’s a really supportive culture and there’s a sense of community school wide.” One experience that drives Katie’s work is seeing students walk across the stage at 8th grade graduation. She loves hearing them say thanks and tell her what their ambitions and goals are for the future. Katie also enjoys seeing her kids accepted into high school and sharing their stories of success. Katie remembers one of her students initially wasn’t accepted into the magnet high school she wanted to attend after she graduated from 8th grade at KIPP Indy. “Ashantae was so bright and after putting in the research and visiting the school, she knew it was the right fit for her.” Once the student found out, she asked KIPP Indy teachers and staff, including Katie, to write letters on her behalf to help appeal the school’s decision to deny her admittance. Ultimately, the school granted her a meeting and she spoke in front of a committee about why she should be accepted. They ended up granting her admittance. “Something special about KIPP Indy is that we empower our students to advocate for themselves and never give up. As a...

Meet KIPP Indy: Dominique Cureton

Dominique Cureton was working at a large corporation in Atlanta when she realized she was not in a position to be able to contribute to her community in the way she wanted to. Those feelings intensified after the birth of her daughter, and it motivated her to think about how she could switch careers. “My daughter gave me clarity of purpose. I had been volunteering with kids and coaching a youth basketball league, but it wasn’t enough.” She decided to return to the city she grew up in to give back. Dominique applied and was accepted to the Indianapolis Teaching Fellows (ITF) program, part of the broader The New Teacher Project umbrella, which is dedicated to transforming accomplished professionals and college graduates into excellent teachers. She went through a rigorous teacher-training program with ITF and ultimately received her masters in teaching from Marian University and certification. She is now in her third year with KIPP Indy as a 7th grade literacy teacher and the grade level team leader. Dominique also has a focus on special education and is responsible for teaching inclusion classes. She says that teaching at KIPP Indy motivates her because, “I have the opportunity to shape young lives, build them up, and motivate them to create change for the future. The key to solving many societal issues we currently face lies with the youth of this country.” Dominique also appreciates that teaching has made her feel part of a community of people who care about her as a person, not just about the results she’s achieving. She has felt valued from the start of her teaching...