It’s spring, and more than flowers are blossoming at Ingenuity Prep!
This PRIDE edition highlights just a small fraction of the growth that we’ve seen in our students, their families, and our staff over the last few months – in Gavin and Ms. Kaila’s case – and years – for Musa, Kendra, and Erin.
Seeing all the growth happening for our students inside and outside the classroom is incredible!
This week, students are celebrating spring with Spirit Week. Next week is Spring Break, and – when they return – dive headstrong into the year’s final quarter and end of year PARCC testing.
When school wraps up in June, you can expect our last edition of PRIDE for this school year – highlighting more members of our unique and supportive school community.
With PRIDE and gratitude for your support,
Co-Founder and CEO
Kendra and Musa are Planting Roots
After experiencing some significant life changes, Kendra found a job in Southeast DC in 2020 and began her search for a school that would be a good fit for her family. Kendra dreamed of a school that would help her son learn to be a decent citizen outside academics. She wanted a school that would foster a growth mindset and provide opportunities to learn about people different from him. She also wanted a school where he could stay planted for several years. She wanted teachers who would help her better support his education at home.
Because of the convenient location, Kendra decided to enroll Musa in Ingenuity Prep. Here, she found everything she was hoping for, and more! She feels like she is part of a community here. She loves that the staff is welcoming, caring, and transparent. Kendra loves Musa’s teachers and is impressed by how invested the entire Ingenuity Prep community is in his academic, social, emotional, and behavioral growth.
Ingenuity Prep has been a safe haven. The school community is amazing, and that doesn’t happen everywhere. You all both know and accept Musa for who he is and will call him out – in a loving way – when he needs to be. It’s good to know that I’m not by myself.
– Kendra, Musa’s mom
The Ingenuity Prep community has become so important to Kendra that she can’t imagine a future where she won’t be involved – even after Musa transitions to high school in seven years. She is so invested in our community and ensuring that it thrives that she joined the school’s Board of Trustees last year. She is passionate about strengthening our community. She is committed to making the school event better so that families like hers will continue to feel like they belong.
Gavin’s Personality is Sprouting
When Gavin first came to Ingenuity Prep, Gabrielle worried about his ability to thrive as a prekindergarten student. As an infant and toddler during the pandemic, Gabrielle noticed that Gavin struggled with his language skills. Gabrielle made sure Gavin received speech therapy during the pandemic; however it was virtual and therefore, not very effective with a toddler.
Thanks mainly to his teachers, Ms. Brittney and Ms. Crystal, Gavin has grown in his first year at Ingenuity Prep. At first, it was an adjustment to the structured environment. Gavin’s personality has completely transformed with lots of patience, guidance, and teacher support. He went from being a quiet and reserved toddler into a curious student who participates, shares ideas with his peers, and eagerly takes on new challenges.
He went from telling us no to everything, even when he meant yes, to using his words every chance he gets. Now, we don’t have to worry about why he is crying because he’ll tell us. When there is a leadership role in the classroom, and we are giving out jobs, he’s the first one to say, ‘I can do it!’ He’s excited about learning. He’s such a big kid, and he’s so independent.
– Ms. Brittney, one of Gavin’s Co-Teachers
With the confidence that Gavin is receiving a high-quality, individualized education as a part of Ingenuity Prep’s supportive community school, Gabrielle no longer worries about whether Gavin is getting the education he needs to thrive. She’s grateful for the staff’s expertise and caring – not only for Ms. Brittany and Ms. Crystal. She knows that everyone at Ingenuity Prep is dedicated to helping her son grow into a confident and capable young student.
Every day, Ingenuity Prep helps students like Gavin better understand themselves and the world around them. In addition to rigorous academic content, our teachers are dedicated to helping our students improve their social, emotional, and behavioral skills, which are foundational for interacting with the world, not just in our Early Childhood Academy but throughout our entire school.
Erin and Her Business are Budding
Erin’s natural intelligence enabled her to succeed at Ingenuity Prep from prekindergarten to the middle of third grade and throughout her third and fourth-grade years during virtual learning. Since returning to school post-pandemic last year as a fifth-grade student in our Middle School Academy, she has become increasingly determined to challenge herself – both inside and outside the classroom – to continue growing and excelling as a student and in life.
Three of her English Language Arts (ELA) teachers – her favorite subject – used words like “bright, disciplined, athletic, dependable, outspoken, and delightful” to describe Erin, and all of them said, “entrepreneurial.” Inspired by family members, Erin launched her business ‘I am Charme’ in February 2022 and made $1,000 in the first month! She’s growing her business through word-of-mouth and online (you can find her on Instagram @charme.accessories). As she’s grown her business, numerous local pop-up shop organizers have invited her to participate. She even participated in the pop-up shop Ingenuity Prep during Black History Month. And she has plans to continue to expand!
Erin also challenges herself at school. She is determined to participate in nearly every out-of-school time opportunity we offer Middle School Academy students. Thanks to generous donors, Erin can participate in activities like cheerleading, dance, and modeling at no cost. Recently, she also stepped into the vice president role on Ingenuity Prep’s Student Government Association, where she is building her leadership skills and strengthening her ability to advocate for herself and her peers.
While Erin is exceptionally disciplined, balancing her commitments isn’t easy. Since she’s taken on more responsibilities and obligations, there have been times when she’s struggled to keep up with everything. During those times, she feels like she gets support from her teachers and other staff to stay on track.
Erin feels fortunate to be part of the Ingenuity Prep community, which she describes as challenging, helpful, and careful. She knows that our curriculum is rigorous, so she will continue to expand her knowledge and her abilities; she knows that if she or her peers ask for help, they will get it; and she knows that our community cares about her as a person and wants her to succeed. Our community feels fortunate to have a student as determined as Erin, and we look forward to supporting her continued personal, professional, and academic growth over the next few years as she prepares to transition to high school.
Ms. Kaila Davis
Director of Family and Community Engagement
As someone who knew she wanted to be a teacher since elementary, a school setting has always been Ms. Kaila’s favorite place to work. What Ms. Kaila loves most about the Ingenuity Prep community are her relationships with students, families, and staff. Her interactions with students are the best part of her day!
After receiving her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education (PreK through 4th grade) at Arkansas State University, Ms. Kaila taught in Prince George’s County for five years. The most rewarding aspect of her job was building relationships with students and families. Ms. Kaila loved teaching, but she loved collaborating with families and community parents to meet the needs of students and families even more. So, before transitioning to Ingenuity Prep, she worked for Communities In Schools of Chicago for nearly five years. She managed community partnerships for forty Chicago Public Schools within twenty-nine different Chicago neighborhoods.
When Kaila saw the job posting for her current role, she knew it would be the perfect one for her. While she enjoyed and excelled at building community partnerships and connecting students and families to resources on a large scale, she missed working more regularly with students and families. Knowing that “every school is different,” Kaila wanted to invest her time and energy into just one school to build deeper, more meaningful relationships with students and families. She joined the Ingenuity Prep community in the summer of 2022.
Ms. Kaila has dedicated herself to purposeful and thoughtful planning for our students’ futures while simultaneously building relationships between and among our members of the school and the local community as a whole. She is committed to “put[ing] students and families first” in every decision she makes.
With support from Ingenuity Prep’s executive leaders, Kaila is constantly growing as a leader. When she isn’t busy facilitating community partnership, she’s interacting with students and families, supervising after school staff, and strategically reflecting on ways to strengthen the Ingenuity Prep school community to benefit students and the region. We couldn’t have asked for a better person to fill the vital role and bring her plan for a super strong and active school community of students, families, staff, supporters, and community partners to fruition.