How I Stay Energized at KIPP

KIPP Foundation

My Way

“This is the way – hey! We start our day – hey! We’ve got the knowledge – hey! To go to college – hey! We won’t stop there – hey! Go anywhere – hey! This is the way – hey! We start the day!” was the spirit in which many morning as a School Operations Leader began. Nothing compares to the morning hustle of bus drop-off, the carpool lane, the stop in the hall request, “hey Mrs. Nasir, you have a quick second?” A quick second that resulted in a much deeper conversation about strategies to increase parent engagement.

This is the way.

Only moments later would I need to prepare for a community partnership meeting that had the potential to significantly enhance enrichment programming for scholars on my campus.

This is the way.

My calendar alerts me of a lunch and recess duty. This was my permission to have less structured, yet quality time with scholars. I’d quickly change from pumps to flats because I knew a scholar would ask me to, “get in on dodge ball, Mrs. Nasir.”

This is the way.

This is the way of a close view.

My close view is one that is now turned wide screen in my new role as a Regional Operations Leader. Chants are distant. Lunch in the Phoenix Café requires a 7 minute drive, and school-based community partnerships are not mine to cultivate.

Is this my way?

Today, I begin my day in carpool delivering my own 8th and 11th grade KIPPsters to school. You see, we don’t go into the same school building together anymore. Circling the parking lot, I’m flagged over by a student who informs me of an upcoming enrichment showcase and invites me to attend. Without hesitation, my answer is, “yes!”

This is the way.

The day is filled with tasks, meetings and professional development sessions. Six o’clock is quickly approaching and I’m off to a community engagement meeting with Spelman and Morehouse Colleges. They would love to more deeply discuss ways to expand the impact of the Bonner Scholar Community Service initiative.

This is the way.

On my drive home from this community meeting, I can’t help but to think about the edits I must make to my region’s charter renewal petition which has the potential to offer hundreds of KIPP seats to students throughout Atlanta.

This is the way.

As I close my eyes for the night, I give into my heart’s desire to continue to be the leader who relishes in the impact and inspiration of moments. Moments one can only experience by being present.

This is my way.

Ready to stay connected? Here are my 3 simple, yet impactful, ways I stay connected…

Lead all coaching sessions at a school site instead of the regional office: This approach allows me the opportunity to share in the day to day perspectives of a school operations leader, therefore better steering my coaching strategy. Usually, as I attempt to exit the building, the magnetism of striking artwork on a nearby bulletin board, the sound of a sports activity in the gym, or melodic tunes from a music room, extend my stay. Shout out to all KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools Ops Champions!

Eat lunch at the school café: Thrilling conversations, laughter and love for lemon pepper wings, super nachos, and salad bars live here! The lunch block offers a great opportunity to build and grow relationships with scholars. As a regional operations leader, it is also the perfect way to experience and assess the quality of a school prepared meal. Gratitude to the KIPP STRIVE Academy nutrition team at the Phoenix Café. I can always look forward to enjoying fresh, well prepared, and delicious lunch options!

Attend a school team morning huddle: Beginning the day with a school team is energizing! It sets the tone for the day and keeps me connected to my teammates. Much love to KIPP Vision Primary School and KIPP STRIVE Primary School for welcoming me into the huddles!

MORE ABOUT CRYSTAL:
What’s your best advice for starting at KIPP?
-Seek perspective! Talk with current KIPP teammates about their “why” and “how.”

What’s your favorite activity for when you get stressed about work?
-Working from a primary school classroom. Young scholars are so unbothered, curious, and uninhibited – it brings me so much joy!

Where do you find inspiration at KIPP?
-Through conversations with alumni, engaging with scholars in their learning environment and attending any type of student event (performances, athletics, presentations, etc.).

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