So when I heard those words as an admonition from the speaker at my conference last week, it finally hit home to me that this new career of mine is maybe a little different than all the other work I’ve been doing the rest of my life. Certainly, no one has ever used that kind of language to describe the importance of any of my consulting projects. (And before that on satellites or circuits I was working on–it seems I have trouble keeping a career.)
No, (although you might think so from the quote) I haven’t gone off and become a preacher. Karen and I are, however, now a dual non-profit family: I started working two weeks ago for the KIPP Foundation, which supports a national network of over 80 high performing charter schools (open enrollment public schools that are free to all via lottery.) KIPP schools are located almost 100% in the inner city, and all of our schools have at least 80% of our students qualifying for free or reduced lunches. Despite those challenges, our schools have made national headlines with the improvements they’ve been able to make in student achievement (If you’re curious to learn more, check out our website at https://www.kipp.org, read Chapter 9 of Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”, or read the new book by the Washington Post’s Education reporter, Jay Mathews, “Work Hard, Be Nice.”) I’m really excited to be able to contribute to the organization as it continues to grow.
The conference I was at (where I heard the speaker) was for the Broad Residency in Urban Education. That’s the program that has sponsored my transition from the private sector into education, along with 36 other peers from around the country. (The majority of them are working directly for urban school districts like Chicago Public Schools, but a number of us are working for charter organizations.) It’s a phenomenal group of people that I’m looking forward to spending more time with over the course of the residency (during the next couple of years); they don’t have the bios up for my cohort yet, but if you’re interested in learning more about it, you can check out last year’s class at https://broadresidency.org/residents/2008-2010.html
In addition to finally posting the China and South America travel pictures I’ve been meaning to get to, I’ll also try to put up interesting facts about urban education as I come across them. I know many people are passionate about the topic and want to hear more. (I’m still obviously learning, but if you have any questions, let me know and I’ll try to answer them.)