That’s a wrap! As we move into the holiday season, I want to thank you for your continued commitment to Ingenuity Prep students, staff, and families this year.
The first half of the school year has been a success, and we are excited for the new year. I’ll email you next week with a quick look at what’s in store for our students in the new year. In the meantime, take a look at some recent highlights!
Co-Founder and CEO
THE HOLIDAYS WILL BE HAPPY
The holidays can be difficult, especially for families and students experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Thanks to you, families like Dora’s will have one less worry this holiday season.
Dora’s grandchildren, Cierra and Mckenzie, are two of 34 students who are receiving gifts from you – their Ingenuity Prep family – this year. More than 30 staff members came together to contribute more than 77 gifts.
I’m so thankful. It was a big help for my family this year,” says Dora. She added “I appreciate the gifts so much. Especially for Cierra, she loves toys!
Dora’s story is not unusual. A majority of IP families are facing difficult times: More than 78% of IP students are either experiencing homelessness, in the District’s foster care system, or qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
That’s why your continued support means so much!
It’s hard to be a new student at school, but students like Darez Lucas, make it look like a breeze. His teachers say: “He is such a gem… He works so hard… He is respectful in all of his communications to his peers… He always asks questions when he doesn’t understand… He’s very inquisitive and has a positive and calm demeanor.”
But from their experience, our teachers also know that “[quiet] students like Darez [who can blend in] are often overlooked, especially boys.”
These are just some of the many reasons why IP’s fourth grade team recognized Darez as the winner of IP’s Elementary School Academy’s P.R.I.D.E. Awards for our first quarter Awards Ceremony. Darez embodies all five P.R.I.D.E. values – Positivity, Resilience, Integrity, Determination, and Empathy – and was chosen to receive the Determination Award!
In a few short months, Darez has quickly become an asset to his IP peers. His teachers say they “can always depend on him to help other students and be a good role model.” We could not be more proud of him!
To Darez, determination means “pushing yourself to do something you want to do.” He says “you just have to keep going.” And that’s what he does! He keeps going and he keeps encouraging his classmates to do their best too!
We are so grateful for the continued support from our community that enables us to support students who, like Darez, are determined to make IP a supportive community for all.
Advocate Like Aniya
From sponsoring after school activities to improving facilities to leading student events, Aniya is always asking herself how our community can be better. But when Aniya started at IP in 3rd grade, she was not yet aware of her ability to influence real change. Now, as 8th grader and Middle School Academy’s Student Government Association President, she is leading our students’ efforts to make our school a more productive and positive place.
With support from IP teachers like Mr. Glenn, her 5th grade literacy teacher, Aniya realized that we all have “a lot to learn about how the world works” from books. Through reading, Aniya also found an outlet for her voice and began to realize that she could advocate for herself and her community.
She started to learn life lessons from books like ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ that taught her it’s okay to “find the humor in life and take a second to relax.” In more serious books, like those of Angie Thomas, she learned to use her voice to challenge systemic injustices.
As a two time winner of our school’s oratory competition, Aniya has used her voice to advocate for her community on racism, gun violence, immigration, and more, following in the footsteps of her favorite characters, like Bri from ‘On The Come Up’ or Starr from ‘The Hate U Give’.
I really enjoyed ‘The Hate U Give’ because it helped to open my eyes about how life is for Black and brown students like myself and others. I learned to speak out against injustice, and if I see something, to say something.
As a leader among her peers, Aniya is constantly developing herself as a civic leader and even more importantly, supporting those around her as leaders. In her own words “Being a leader doesn’t always mean you have to be in charge. I think being a leader means that you support everyone around you so that they can be successful.”
When you support students like Aniya, you are supporting their academics and their ability to understand the world and their role in it. You are supporting readers as they become leaders.
Building Bonds with Ms. Tiffany
Ms. Tiffany Bryant – one of IP’s very first employees – “always loved kids, but never imagined being a teacher.”
She studied sports medicine and started working as a YMCA counselor. When she worked at the Y, IP brought her on part-time as a PE teacher and behavior support specialist. Now, Ms. Tiffany is one of IP’s best teachers, teaching our first graders reading and life skills, and she is still always looking for opportunities to learn from her fellow teachers.
When asked who inspired her to pursue a career as a teacher, Ms. Tiffany immediately named two of IP’s other early teachers: Ms. Hampton and Ms. Dee.
Their passion for teaching and their relationships with students and families really just touched me. There was something about seeing them with their students. I can’t explain it. At that moment, I realized I could do that too. I could be helpful with students and families as well.
She is well-known among the IP community as someone who is able to quickly build strong relationships with students and their families. Her emotional consistency offers students a safe space to learn to regulate their emotions so they can focus on learning.
One of the most important skills she enjoys helping her students learn – in addition to managing emotions – is advocacy. She tells them to “always speak up for yourself because sometimes adults don’t understand.” Even in first grade, Ms. Tiffany, sometimes sees students “advocat[ing] for each other.”
When you support IP, you support teachers like Ms. Tiffany who are committed to building strong bonds with our students’ and families’ and creating safe spaces for all of us to learn and practice important life skills.