The first days at a new school can be overwhelming. Your mind races, “What are the rules? What do I need to learn? Is the principal nice?” And we’re just talking about the teachers!

Each year, KIPP NYC welcomes new staff members to our growing Team and Family. To set them up for success, we spend a week engaged in professional development that includes how we infuse character education, how we support students to and through college, and how we intellectually prepare for the rigors of content and curriculum.

Recently, we asked our new staff members to reflect on their first week as a “Big KIPPster” and here’s what they had to say:

“Everyone has been extremely welcoming and open. It’s just been a wonderful change to be in an atmosphere where everyone is so committed to not only preparing our kids academically, but also preparing the entire child.”

Elissa “Chi Chi” Nieves

Music Teacher, KIPP Academy Elementary School

“New to KIPP week has been awesome. It has been impressive to be in the presence of people who have been teaching for so long. And they just say so humbly ‘Oh, I’ve been teaching for seven years.’ Their wealth of knowledge has just been incredible.”

Eliza Catalino

7th Grade History, KIPP Academy Middle School

“It’s invigorating to be in a situation where everyone is working as a team to make sure that new teachers at KIPP are put in a situation where they’re going to be successful and as a result, students are going to be successful too.”

Michael Martinez

Special Education Teacher, KIPP Washington Heights Middle School

“The people at KIPP NYC actually live the values by in the mission statement – everyone works hard and is incredibly nice. Professional development can be a rough experience, but this is completely different at KIPP. Teachers are digging into the curriculum, jumping in at every opportunity to practice, and laughing the whole time.”

Alexander Ogle

Kindergarten Teacher, KIPP STAR Harlem Elementary School

“The emphasis on character education really stood out during summer training. I feel it is extremely important to develop well-rounded individuals who are not only strong academically, but also develop character strengths such as grit, optimism, and curiosity. At KIPP, I know I am part of a family working towards that same mission!”

Janelle Duckett

2nd Grade Teacher, KIPP Academy Elementary School

“As a New-to-KIPP teacher, I feel welcomed and genuinely valued. It’s exciting to know that teachers play a meaningful role in shaping and executing the curriculum. I’ve been looking for an organization that invests in the development and success of their teachers, and I’ve found that here.”

Anisha Warner

8th Grade ELA Teacher, KIPP Infinity Middle School