When I say the core values: grow humble leaders, drive visionary change, achieve jaw-dropping results, build transformative relationships and create-life changing opportunities, who, dead or alive, do you feel embodies each of these values?

This was the first group activity that I participated in on the second day of my internship, last week. As the YesPrep Memphis intern I was invited to attend the leadership strategic planning meeting. The school leadership was reflecting on the past year in order to plan out their campus goals, strategic steps to get there, and how they will align with the YesPrep overall goals for the following year.

YesPrep is a charter school district in Houston with 13 campuses that is achieving amazing results! They believe that every one of their students should graduate high school and college, no matter what zip code the student was born in. They celebrate getting into college the same way that most schools celebrate athletes, and have a signing day at the end of the year. Without fail watching the video brings tears to my eyes:

Watching the strategic planning meeting was a chance for me to immerse myself in the YesPrep culture before I began my internship writing the 6th grade foundational curriculum for the new YesPrep school opening in Memphis during the fall of 2015. I am going to be helping YesPrep create a strong set of foundational tools to align to the YesPrep goals, Tennessee standards and the Common Core.

By this point in the blog you are probably wondering what a person studying public policy is doing writing curriculum for a charter school network? Having taught high school history I love curriculum design, but this internship does also strongly connect with the MPP: implementation. The common core is one of the most contested, yet important, education reforms of the last few years and I want to be part of helping it be implemented in a strong and meaningful way for children.

This week I have been working from home, a willpower challenge, and have started writing the unit plan with aligned literacy and writing goals for 6th grade biology. I love the challenge of finding and breaking down texts so that they are engaging and meaningful to students. Inspired by my new-found love of the TV show Orphan Black I have decided to use clones as the hook for the unit plan. Students will be learning about cells and the scientific method while at the same time thinking through the scientific, ethical and moral reasons behind cloning. At the end of the unit students will be answering the prompt

After reading ____________________ (tomorrows plan is to find the readings!), write 3 paragraphs in which you compare reasons for and reasons against animal cloning and argue your opinion on cloning. Support your position with evidence from the texts(s).

So far so good with the unit plan! Excited to start finding the texts and making the handouts for the students tomorrow!

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