Parent Involvement

This Newark School Isn't Wasting Any Time When It Comes to Kids Who Struggle

I am a parent who supports quality schools whether they are traditional district schools, private schools or public charter schools. As a parent, nothing is more important to me than a great school for my kids and I refuse to accept the status quo. I heard many great things about KIPP New Jersey so I took a chance to find out what all the rave was about. I entered my son into the open-enrollment pool and he was selected to attend KIPP BOLD Academy. During the open house there was a young lady that spoke so eloquently and held KIPP schools in such high regard and appreciation. I said, “I need my child to have this same experience.” During my first meeting with the school's leader, Ms. Bonnifield, she came to my home and met with my children and their grandmother, and I let her know all my concerns. She believed in my child and understood my frustrations with how he was doing academically and behaviorally. I knew my child was able to be a great student; however, the school he was attending just could not bring it out of him. She spoke with him as a caring parent, not a leader of a school. One would have thought that she was related to us. I had never experienced this type of love from any school that my children had attended. Even the first day of summer school my child came home excited, thrilled and happy. I didn’t even have a chance to ask him how his day was before he told me, “I had an awesome day, Mom! I really like this school, and I can’t wait to go to back tomorrow.” Do you know how long I have waited to hear those words? This has been going on every day since then. My child actually looks forward to going to school each day. His favorite part about school? “They care, Mom, they give me a chance, and they believe in me.” I thank Allah (God) for this blessing! They’re supporting him academically as well. Before, he disliked reading so much he would just shut down and not even try. Ms. Bonnifield told me she would ensure that this would change; she said it with conviction and commitment. While reading is still not his favorite thing, in just one school cycle his reading level has increased tremendously. Every last staff member I have had the pleasure of meeting has shown professionalism and so much enthusiasm. These teachers want to make a difference in the education of the children of Newark. They are all so committed and compassionate about being educators. And they aren’t just there for my son; they are there to help the parents and the community as well. I hope KIPP can grow so other parents in Newark are able to have the same opportunities for their children. Kids in schools that struggle don’t have any time to waste.
Wakeefah Borders is a Newark, New Jersey native and advocate of public education. She has two children and strongly believes that success for future generations starts with a quality education.

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