Blog Archive

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Not An Average School Day

A group interns in our Mid Atlantic Economic Unit (MAEU) recently participated in an invigorating and rewarding experience at the KIPP Ujima Village Academy in Baltimore, MD. As part of the MAEU internship program, interns participate in a service day to facilitate team building and to enhance community involvement. Interns traveled from as far as the Richmond, VA area to participate in the event.

After beginning the day with an introduction of the school by one of the supervisors, the McGladrey interns split up into different classrooms as teaching assistants for the day. Between math, reading, science, and computer classes, it was a full day for each intern. The teachers were happy to receive help. Interacting with the students was a special experience. The students at KIPP, the highest-performing middle school in one of the poorest sections of Baltimore City, go to school for over nine hours a day, voluntarily, while their peers attending neighboring middle schools only have about six.

While a good majority of the day was focused on the students at KIPP, the interns also had a chance to speak with the school’s administration and ask questions regarding the nature, focus, and vision of the program. The principal spoke about how he wanted to expand the middle school to form an elementary school. As the goal of the program is preparation for college, he believes the best place to start is square one.

“The experience was truly an eye opener for the interns and me,” said Ramon Puzon, campus recruiter in the Richmond office. “The children do not have much at home but come to school everyday ready to learn and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity they have been given. The staff at KIPP Ujima Village Academy is impressive. Their jobs are not glamorous and they don’t do it for the money. But their commitment to help these students’ futures and give back to the community is inspiring to me.” KIPP, Knowledge Is Power Program, is based on five pillars that act as a guide used by the staff in an effort to work towards preparing students for college-preparatory high schools and college. The pillars include increased expectations, leadership opportunities, and academic commitment from the students. Students are selected for the school through a blind lottery system giving everyone in the area an equal chance to attend KIPP.

No comments: