Kipp Austin Academy Of Arts & Letters
Kipp Austin Academy Of Arts & Letters – I have been teaching science and sex education in the 8th grade for the 11th year. As a science professional, I realized that many science educators have a unique set of challenges. Disproportionately, science teachers often do not have a strong academic background in science. In addition, the pedagogical approach to science classes is fundamentally different from how other subjects are often taught, which means that high-quality, science-related curriculum materials and professional development are extremely difficult to find. I think it’s important that teachers who have been in the game for a while and demonstrate the ability to create environments where students can thrive and achieve are an important component of educational leadership. To that end, I have spent many years facilitating professional development related to science pedagogy at my school, district, Region 13, the Science Teaching Improvement Conference, and the KIPP School Summit. The deeper I delve into my content, the more I see how education policy dramatically affects what happens in the classroom. For example, the Texas Health and Safety Code requires sexuality education teachers like me to tell our students that being Queer is a crime and that LGBTQIA+ students face hostile school environments. Texas is one of only two states in the nation that does not require students to learn about climate change. The Texas K-12 science standards do not mention women or BIPOC scientists—every scientist mentioned in the standards is white and male. To bring attention to these issues and push for change, I wrote Op-Eds for a number of different publications, advocated for more teachers to testify before State Boards of Education, and met with state representatives. lobby for greater equality in education policy. I am now pursuing my master’s degree at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, hoping to find ways to become more involved in education policy.
What do you hope will be true for Austin kids, community and/or alumni network in 10 years?
Kipp Austin Academy Of Arts & Letters
It’s funny that the question specifically mentions 10 years, because science standards are usually only reviewed every 10 years. At this recent State Board of Education meeting, there was great hostility to a proposed standard that would require teachers to incorporate “social justice” into their lessons. My sincere hope is that 10 years from now, why aren’t we talking about social justice in science? Not anymore, why are we teaching our kids that only scientists are old white men? And why are we denying students the right to learn about climate change, which already has a profound impact on their lives? In 10 years, I hope that fairness is the expectation, not the exception. Having a broad and rich understanding of the interconnected nature of science and justice. Texas schools will become a pipeline for the next generation of scholars who more accurately reflect the personalities of their communities. Queer kids feel safe at school and their teachers are equipped with the knowledge and skills to create affirming spaces that celebrate ALL students.
Kipp Austin Collegiate High School
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Gracie was born and raised in Washington State. In 2018, she received her BA from the University of San Diego and joined Teach For America – Los Angeles. During her tenure at TFA, she taught 5th/6th grade Special Education at KIPP LA and received her Masters in Urban Education (Educational Policy and Administration Concentration) from Loyola Marymount University. After her time in the Corps, she taught TK-4th grade Special Education at a charter school in Santa Ana, California, and then worked as a virtual teacher while traveling to over 30 national parks and traveling through Latin America. She currently lives in Austin and teaches Special Education at Dawson Elementary School. She is passionate about equity in education and is excited to be part of a coalition of educators ready to reimagine education in Austin. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, camping, walking her dog, trying new restaurants, and seeing live music around town.
Hannah Miller was born and raised in Waco, Texas. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a minor in Mathematics, Business and Public Policy and completed the UTeach program. After graduation, Hannah joined TFA as a Greater Philadelphia 2020 Corp member, where she taught Algebra 2 in North Philadelphia for two years. During his tenure in Philadelphia, he earned a Master’s Degree with Honors in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. After working at Corp, Hannah returned home to teach Algebra 2 at Del Valle High School in Austin, Texas. In her spare time, Hannah enjoys hiking, watching Texas Longhorn football, and going anywhere with live music.
David was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He is the son of immigrant parents who came from Mexico in the late 1980s. Thanks to the dedication of his parents, he was able to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Radio-Television-Film from the University of Texas. During David’s undergraduate studies, his summers were spent interning at Walt Disney World and being a camp counselor for children across the country. After struggling to figure out what to do after college, she realized that being in the classroom with kids was her calling. David joined DFW TFA in 2018 and began teaching 4th grade math at Oakcliff. During her first year of teaching, she was also pursuing a Master’s Degree in Education at Southern Methodist University. For the next 3 years, she worked as a kindergarten teacher at Idea Achieve Academy. David recently married the love of his life on June 17, 2022 and has now moved to Austin where he will continue to teach as a kindergarten teacher at Austin Achieve Elementary School. David is passionate about empowering and mobilizing youth in low-income communities. He believes that the future leaders of our country are in the classroom and that all students should have the same opportunity to receive a quality education. Her goal is to join a movement that will one day eradicate educational injustice. You can also catch David running around Zilker park with his golden doodle Prince Zuko, eating a sausage egg and cheese breakfast taco from Taco Joint, or sitting on his couch watching anime.
Kipp Austin Academy Of Arts & Letters
Justine was born in the Philippines and raised in Brownsville, Texas. After graduating from Tufts University with a BA in Sociology and Clinical Psychology, she decided to pursue teaching. She joined Learning for America (San Antonio) and taught middle school science and math at IDEA Public Schools. Now in her fourth year of teaching, she is a 6th grade math teacher and mentor teacher at Austin Achieve Public Schools. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the city, drinking boba, watching TV, and traveling.
Sophia found her passion for education by joining Hillary Clinton’s America Reads initiative in 2010, where she began student teaching kindergarten. In 2011, Sophia continued to develop her educational career in adult education as a curriculum developer and facilitator for the War Refugee Adult Literacy Program at the Rhode Island International Institute in Providence, Rhode Island. Sophia moved to Los Angeles in 2013 as part of the Teach for America corps, working at Watts and continuing her corps member service as a dual language teacher (grades 3-6) in the Alum Rock School District in East San Jose, California. He joined the Jose Valdez Math Program at Stanford University during the summers and supported middle and high school students (grades 6-10) in closing opportunity gaps in STEM. Before joining IDEA, Sophia worked as a dual language teacher at KIPP Austin. Sophia continued her career as a teacher and regional curriculum coach at IDEA in the greater Austin Area. Her passion for academics and educating adults and students to their highest potential has led her to continue her service in education, working as an academic advisor, assistant director of instruction, and currently director in residence at the campus level. Sophia received her BA from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts with a minor in Economics in International Relations and her MA in Urban Education Policy and Leadership from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Sophia is currently enrolled in the Principal in Residence program through IDEA Austin and is excited to one day launch an IDEA school to fulfill the organization’s vision and mission of 100% college readiness, acceptance and graduation rates.
Jasmin is originally from Tucson, Arizona, but has lived in the Austin area since 2008. Jasmine attended the University of Arizona for her undergraduate studies and was torn between becoming a teacher or a lawyer. After graduation, Jasmine taught first grade in Glendale, Arizona through the Teach for America program. This experience spurred a lifelong mission to improve public education. After TFA, Jasmine moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas