This is one of the more fun blogs I’ve had the honor to write, and it’s dedicated to all of us who are or have been teachers. Teachers tend to never fully be satisfied in the moment that their students are completely learning what they’re teaching…and then there are those beautiful moments when it all comes together. Ms. Xu at KIPP Northeast College Prep, we had such a moment with your student, Kaylor Washington, this week.
Kaylor is a 10th grader with Ms. Xu at KIPP Northeast College Prep, and she and two other high school KIPPsters were with me at Harvard Business School, listening to the KIPP case study and getting a chance to weigh in as well. (Kaylor and her two teammates, Carlos Amaya and Tevin Foster, earned this trip with me because they were nominated by their school leaders as having loads of GANAS, aka hearts of lions!!). Kaylor was raised in New Orleans and came to Houston with her family following Hurricane Katrina. She first came to KIPP Voyage Academy for Girls in 5th grade and is now in her 6th year with us at our Northeast Houston high school on the same campus. After class, we sat down with Professor Kim and several of his students to dig further into the case. The HBS students asked the KIPPsters what they thought of the case, the debates in class, and the case’s ultimate question: should KIPP continue to grow? The following is Kaylor’s answer, which I asked her to repeat later in the day so I could make sure I wrote it down in her own words:
“As the MBA students were debating the case with the question if KIPP should continue to grow, I was thinking about my AP Biology teacher, Ms. Xu, and what she taught us about exponential and logistical growth. She taught us that when a community first starts, there are no resource limits so the population grows without limits. There comes a time, however, when the population reaches its resource max, and once that happens, the population stabilizes with minor fluctuations. Some of the students today were saying KIPP couldn’t grow because we didn’t have enough space, money, teachers, and other resources. But one resource they failed to interpret was Hope. There are no limitations to Hope because whenever you have the mindset that you can do something and it’s possible, then anything can happen. Another concept is ΔN/ΔT. In English this means change over time. If we look at KIPP’s history, there has been a great amount of change in a relatively small amount of time. Because the change is so great, the only resource that should be a determining factor is the drive to increase the change over time. So, KIPP should be able to expand.”
And there you have it . Congrats Gillian, Crystal, Tasha, and the faculty of KIPP Voyage and KIPP Northeast College Prep for being the constant, not the variable, with Kaylor over the past 5.5 years, so when she was in a room with Harvard Business School students, Kaylor stood, Kaylor delivered, and Kaylor most definitely had the final definitive word . And congrats as well to all of our teachers who teach tens of thousands of Kaylor’s, and despite any doubts you have as you drive home today: it’s working .