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Dr. JK...The Principal We Need

"A boss has the title, a Leader has the people."

Simon Sinek

My career as a teacher has been a challenging one, and not because of my colleagues, my students, or their parents. Many know that it took a while to pass the Math Praxis. I never gave in; partly because of my will to succeed, but mostly due to the encouragement of my leader, Dr. Carolyn Jackson-King. The woman that hired me and then fought for me to stay.  My second day of teaching 4th grade at Orr Elementary, I walked into her office, and told her I needed to resign. It was a truth joke. I laughed and I cried. I was NOT READY. I had started my certification program, I was studying for the praxis, and I was teaching one of the most notorious groups of students to ever grace the walls of that building. While that group made me who I am as a teacher, my principal gave me every tool I needed to even come close to the educator they deserved.

Over the years, I believe that I have grown as a teacher. It is clearly my passion, the thing I would do for free. Not only did I fall in love with that bright light that comes on when my students finally "get it," but I have become a lifelong learner. My principal gave me the opportunity to be a grade level lead and also study data throughout the building. I find myself in rooms that I'm not initially sure I belong in. Her confidence in me and her guidance are what nurtured me to bloom into the educator I am today. Friends who know that I am in education call me for advice, and I am fulfilled every time. And while Dr. JK would never take credit for who I am, I will always express who she has been to me.

When I received the news that Dr. JK would not be reappointed as Principal of Boone Elementary my heart dropped. Dr. JK has changed lives. She has impacted teachers, parents, and most importantly, our students. Not because she sits in the principal's office, which she rarely does, but because she builds lasting relationships. I've never taught at another school but I hear the horror stories from fellow educators. So it's safe to say MY PRINCIPAL IS ONE OF THE BEST! She fights for her teachers so that all we have to worry about is fighting for our students. Whether it's the annual budget or simply being a thought partner when it comes to lesson planning.

I believe Dr. JK's removal as principal is not based on performance as can be seen in current data. Below I have provided ELA data based on district wide testing. These percentages are based on students on or above grade level in our testing grades. This increase alone is due to the late nights and early mornings Dr. JK spent going through state standards. This is based on the weekend text messages and the conversations had around what our students need most. And this is just a snapshot of where we started in the 2019-20 academic year. There is a war happening. We are not just fighting for our principal. We are fighting for the future of our children.

ANET cycle 1 (October 2019)                 ANET Cycle 3 (February 2020)

3rd Grade: 29%                                      3rd Grade: 54%

4th Grade: 31%                                      4th Grade: 51%

5th Grade: 40%                                      5th Grade: 54% 

In the beginning of the year our test scores were far below the district. Currently we are performing close to or above other schools in the district.

Dr. Jackson-King had the foresight to see who I could become as an educator. She has the experience to lead our staff in a way that supports and challenges us. She gets results where it matters most. Our students grow emotionally, socially, and exponentially in their academics. She is excellent at what she does. She is the Principal we need!

Link to original source here.

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May 12, 2020

As a former student of DCPS I am well aware of the system's inability to provide children of the necessary academic programs needed for progress and development. I grew up in Lincoln Heights in the projects in the early 60's. I quit school in the seventh grade and made my own changes in life to pursue a professional career. I attended UDC and graduate school at Lincoln University. I left school only because I didn't feel that the education I was receiving would allow me to become a professional man, capable to compete with those outside of my boundary. My schooling was designed to keep me in a capacity of blue collar worker or less. Not that there is somethi…

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