Being told that something I made is “pretty” or “beautiful,” even, is not something I’m used to hearing. I grew up in the shadow of my younger sister’s incredible artistic talent, and I accepted a long time ago that the things I drew or painted tended to elicit amused head shaking rather than awe and praise. I’ve never minded, though–my sister can draw up masterpieces in a matter of days with her nimble handiwork; I could spend a year perfecting a drawing and it’d still be laughably horrendous.
But this week, my coworkers at KIPP told me that the things I designed and created were, and I quote, “pure awesomeness” and “beautiful.” Okay… no, I’m not talking about anything I painted (sigh), but instead about my data spreadsheets. Don’t laugh! While there are times when it feels like I’m just running numbers for the sake of watching my formulas do their thing, the reports that I’m making actually get used all around the office… or even seen and complimented by the Executive Director of KIPP Columbus herself! The numbers matter, as I’ve talked about in my previous blogs, so that KIPP can have cold, hard evidence of the difference that they’re making for their students. And what a difference that is–their end goal is to create a pre-K through 12th grade system that helps their KIPPsters get “To and Through College.” They want every single student to graduate high school AND college so that they can have as many opportunities for success open to them as possible.
Although a lot of my work here is on the micro data level, I went on some pretty amazing field trips this week that highlighted the bigger picture of things at KIPP. Currently, KIPP is working on building a brand new high school and primary school so that it can finally house all grades of students. KIPP is sort of like a college campus, in that all of its buildings are on the same area of land, located just within a few feet from each other. This week, I traveled via golf cart with the staff to explore the construction sites.
Here’s a photo of the outside of KIPP’s new high school building, which promises to be absolutely stunning. KIPP’s campus is on an old golf course, meaning it’s surrounded by gorgeous fields filled with trees and wildflowers–and the new high school and primary school are filled with windows and open spaces to allow the students to appreciate the wonderful views. KIPP works so hard on cultivating its faculty and students inside the buildings that it seems only right to have a beautiful building exterior to match. Below is a photo of me (wearing my very own KIPP shirt, and my coworker’s bright pink shoes because I didn’t have closed-toe ones for the site…oops!) and some of the KIPP Columbus staff, as well as one very impressive KIPP Columbus alumnus and a super excited construction worker. It was a fun and uplifting trip, showing all the ways that KIPP works to really Prove The Possible (just like our shirts say!) and give their KIPPsters all the help and guidance they can.