KIPP Philadelphia Public Schools, Philadelphia, PA
I had a wonderful time as the Academics Intern at KIPP Philadelphia. KIPP is a national, K-12 charter school system that primarily serves kids from underserved communities, and KIPP Philadelphia is a system of multiple schools that serve the Philadelphia area. I assisted KIPP’s math coordinator, Serrano Legrand, with preparing and modifying K-10 curricula for the upcoming school year. Curricula modifications this year were more intensive than they have been in years past because virtual learning during the 2020-2021 school year resulted in students struggling with grade-level content. Having the opportunity to intern with KIPP Philadelphia helped me confirm my interest in the education nonprofit space. It also helped me develop a better understanding of education nonprofits and curriculum development that will aid me considerably as I pursue a career in education public policy.
During the course of my internship, I worked on several different projects. My first task was to make documents for educators teaching math outlining general guidelines for setting students up for success and including specific instructions for teaching grade-level concepts. I took guidelines from the Common Core and external suggestions from educational research and provided feedback on which standards to emphasize and how to incorporate them into lessons during the upcoming school year. I also inserted suggestions on how to incorporate unfinished learning from previous years into the introduction of new concepts. In order to create a more streamlined teaching experience, some standards were eliminated entirely from lessons, others were reduced, and some required extra attention.
I also updated calendars and lesson schedules to help emphasize critical content, and I embedded links to different resources so that teachers could have easy access to support for their lessons. I compiled the best teacher resources I found throughout the course of my summer into one document that will be shared with those who are teaching math within KIPP Philadelphia’s school system.
In addition to creating teacher resources, I also practiced applying my research skills to an educational setting. I looked through different education studies and European education systems then made a presentation detailing my observations and suggestions for curricula going forward. My last big project involved taking my research and using it to analyze math performance data. KIPP Philadelphia is trying to focus on math concepts that are “priority standards,” which are the most critical concepts for students to know. But the existing data platform they use, Tableau, doesn’t allow for the filtering of just priority standards. So I created a data analysis system in Google Sheets that sorted data for exclusively priority standards, and then I presented the results.
Overall, I had a wonderfully fulfilling experience and I learned a lot. I want to thank Jeffrey Hines ’77 and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for giving me the opportunity to work with such a wonderful organization and gain new perspective around the education nonprofit space. I also want to thank my supervisor, Serrano, for being so supportive and encouraging throughout my entire summer experience.