Sarina Prasad ’22

KIPP Philadelphia Public Schools, Philadelphia, PA

This summer, I interned with the External Affairs Team at KIPP Philadelphia Schools, a non-profit charter school organization with locations in multiple states and cities. During my internship, most of my time was spent assisting my supervisor, Logan, with various projects. I met with her once a week to discuss the various assignments, and I also attended the team meetings to hear about events, fundraising, and projects that others were working on.Picture of Sarina Prasad

One of my main projects was drafting a new mission statement and core values for a new organization that KIPP Philly is creating along with two other charter school systems, Mastery and Propel. KIPP Philly used to be part of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS), however the decision to leave was made due to differences in priorities. Specifically, KIPP wants to emphasize funding and program equity and focus on distinct issues faced by brick-and-mortar schools, whereas PCPCS included advocacy for cyber charters as well. Writing the mission statement allowed me to become familiar with these values and challenged me to communicate them in a concise, clear manner.

Other projects that I worked on were less rigorous, such as researching charter school organizations in other states in order to draft our mission statement, and anti-gun violence organizations after a fatal accident occurred involving a KIPP student. As the Black Lives Matter movement grew at the beginning of the summer, KIPP began rethinking its relationships and goals as an organization that serves primarily Black children, and being part of this process was very unexpected and interesting. I was also involved in researching organizations that KIPP might consider associating with in the future, with an emphasis on Black organizations or those aligning with the idea of Black people winning. Lastly, my final project was to look at the social media of other KIPP schools to get some inspiration for back to school campaigns or hashtags.

When I first applied for an internship at KIPP, I imagined it being mostly centered on education and the operations of the schools themselves. However, I realize now that I learned more about non-profit operations, which is also something I am interested in. Since I sat in on the team meetings and a big team retreat, I heard a lot about maintaining good relationships with donors and finding new sources of funding. I also learned about the importance of making sure the donors are more like partners and are on board with KIPP’s overall mission and values. I believe much of this information can be applied to any non-profit, so my experience at KIPP has prepared me for exploring careers in this area as well.

I want to thank Jeffrey Hines for helping on my academic journey. I will take with me the things I learned this summer as I continue through Williams, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to intern at KIPP Philly.