“I provide opportunities to uplift our students' voices, ensure access to critically conscious materials, and create safe spaces for students to have open and honest conversations,” said Katelyn Johnson, Math Teacher at KIPP Pueblo Unido Upper School.
Furthermore, Ms. Johnson loves educating that everyone can, indeed, be a math person. “So many students believe that they can't do math, that they just don't/won't get it, that the rules don't make sense and are just something they need to memorize, etc., but I am dedicated to help our KIPPsters see that math is actually beautiful and fun,” enthusiastically said Ms. Johnson. “I cherish the moments when students realize that they can learn math and that it does make sense.”
“Her utter belief in kids is essential,“ said Nisha Vasavada, Co-School Leader at KIPP Pueblo Unido, as she proudly presented Ms. Johnson as a 2021 KIPPStar Teacher of the Year1. “She loves [her students] and pushes academic achievement every day!” Ms. Vasavada added, “This year, kids have grown by 20% in math and this teacher never stops trying. When you enter Katelyn’s classroom, you notice that she recognizes the small things — and as a result, students feel seen by her.” Because of Ms. Johnson, we see our KIPPsters fulfilling their fullest potential.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at Ms. Johnson’s “Day in the Life” teaching math and making memorable connections at KIPP Pueblo Unido Upper School, a college-preparatory TK-3 and 6-8* charter public school.
7:00 - 8:00AM — FRESH START IN THE MORNING
Sometimes, I carpool with my coworker who lives down the street from me. Once I arrive at school, I spend my morning making sure that my classroom is prepped and beautiful for students by straightening desks, writing updates on the board, and more. I seriously love my peaceful morning time!
8:00 - 8:30AM — FOSTERING READING COMPREHENSION
D.E.A.R. (drop everything and read) time — I make sure that a variety of books are accessible in our classroom! Students spend 30 minutes a day reading because we know that a love of books is one of the best things we can give our students. We track our students' growth towards their goals with the tracker pictured. You can find me meeting with students during this time or joining them in reading a professional development book of my own.
8:30AM - 12:00PM — TEACHING MATH, THE ART OF PROBLEM SOLVING
Seventh grade is all about pre-algebra. Students grapple with complex problems, draw models, and debate each other's mathematical thinking. Students learn to solve linear equations and inequalities, proportions, graphing, and much more!
12:00 - 12:45PM — POWER LUNCH
I spend my lunch chatting with students, helping them complete missing assignments, or sometimes just taking some time for myself. On Sundays, I usually meal prep so that I always have something delicious to look forward to during the week — I need food to keep my energy up for my kids!
1:00 - 3:00PM — MOTIVATING STUDENTS IN MATHEMATICS
I spend a lot of time looking at student work and highlighting exemplary mathematical work. It’s important that students take pride in their work. Students love to show off their beautiful work under the doc cam and I will continue supporting that by utilizing a variety of instructional strategies based on the diverse needs of my students.
3:00 - 4:00PM — PREP TIME
During this time, I review the following day's work which consists of preparing examples, anticipating student misconceptions, and getting a practice refresher by doing the math problems.
4:00 - 8:00PM — AFTER THE BELL RINGS
Back at my home sweet home and my cat, Nugget, requires a lot of attention so I make sure to dedicate play time with her. Afterwards, I make dinner, catch up with my roommate, and go for a sunset walk. During my spare time, I also continue my quarantine hobby of relearning the piano!
Fun Fact: I've worked at three different KIPP SoCal schools — KIPP LA Prep (math intervention), KIPP Iluminar (dean), and KIPP Pueblo Unido Upper (7th math).
In the words of our Co-School Leader, Ms. Johnson keeps raising the ceiling! She gets to know our kids in and out — everything from their pets, to their quirks, and sense of humor, plus it’s no secret that students are obsessed with her cat. Overall, "I couldn’t imagine our Pueblo without this teammate, oh so dear, a spreadsheet guru, a force, a friend — she’s definitely our Teacher of the Year,” stressed Ms. Vasavada.
Ms. Johnson not only teaches the knowledge and skills, but also nurtures the confidence and character, and inspires the passion needed for our students to achieve their goals!
Interested in joining our Team and Family? We are seeking talented individuals committed to ensuring education is for liberation.
1. Each year, we celebrate and honor our inspiring KIPP SoCal Team & Family at the Karsh Family KIPPStar Awards, named in honor of champion supporters and education advocates Martha & Bruce Karsh. In alignment with our mission, KIPP SoCal awards Teacher and Team Member of the Year to individuals who embody the values that ground us as an organization: Lead with Love; Equity. Excellence; Strength in the Collective; Courage and Integrity; Learn and Grow.
* A grade level will be added each year until we are fully grown with TK-8th grade.