Let me explain. I am a single mom raising an intelligent radical-thinking boy.
For me there were two factors in choosing the best school for my son. The first was location and the second was resources and supportive services.
In 2011 the UFT and charter schools, let’s just say to my understanding at the time, were not getting along. I filled out twelve applications and I didn’t like my district-assigned school. Then I received a call from a KIPP Infinity representative and I thought I was being punked. True story!
KIPP wanted to come to my home. I flatly told them no. How foolish, right? Nope! They pursued us for six weeks and suggested that I come to their location where they were registered as a charter school. I agreed to give it a look.
The principal at the time welcomed me with open arms but I knew from the start that she was a tough cookie. I asked, “What’s all the commotion about charter schools? Why are parents against you?” I am not going to go through the particulars but she convinced me that this was the right place for my son. Then we started on one of the greatest challenges of our lives…public education.
When Christopher (age 5 at the time) and I entered KIPP Infinity Elementary School on the hot August morning in 2011, we had no idea of the great support we were going to receive.
See, we were in a domestic violence situation. Christopher had anger issues and was very upset with Mama. Christopher could not understand that Mama just wanted health, safety, and well-being for us both. All he knew was that the two people he slept between from birth were not getting along. I called a meeting with his two teachers, a social worker, the principal, and myself. They spent 45 minutes of uninterrupted time with me and listened and sprang into action to provide us with safety, respect, and well-being inside and outside the school building. Christopher was angry with Mama for about a year and a half but we pushed through.
Fast forward to 2016, Christopher has moved up to fifth grade at KIPP Infinity Middle School. With each year he has excelled in a few more areas in his life. If it had not been for me trusting God and the sense of the principal I would of never called this meeting to provide us with supportive services needed.
Christopher is now a well-known public speaker for the youth at local organizations, a guest host on a Manhattan cable station, and a conflict revolutionist. Most importantly, he’s a plain old soul who loves people. I think a lot of his achievements and growth go back to my decision to send him to KIPP.