First, a little more about what I’ll actually be doing this summer within the greater picture of KIPP Philadelphia. Throughout the semester and into this summer, I’ve been working primarily for the Director of Talent, Theresa. Theresa is basically responsible for hiring all the teachers and staff for all four KIPP Philadelphia schools – a huge job, especially with three of the four of them expanding by a grade this year. In addition to her hiring responsibilities, she’s also in charge of most of the HR duties for the organization.
The hiring process here at KIPP is a long one. Excellent teachers are pretty much considered the most essential part of the schools; once you have good teachers in place, the rest will follow. After submitting applications online (side note: the online application system is not the most streamlined, and one of my jobs is to try and help the less computer literate candidates along with their application), candidates proceed to a phone interview, then submit a video lesson, then have an in school interview and the final few candidates have their references checked.
So what am I doing? A lot of going through resumes to find strong candidates, creating contacts for prospective applicants, posting open job positions, emailing people with questions and, most exciting of all, rejecting people. Unfortunately (or probably fortunately for those who are being rejected), I don’t get to choose who makes the cut or not, but I do send the emails. Starting June 27th I will have some different duties, but I’ll get into those then mostly because I’m not 100 percent clear on what they’ll be.
Although I’ve been working at KIPP for awhile now, it’s been nice working here this summer because things are more relaxed. I don’t get handed a list that needs to be finished by the end of that day, so I have time to try other things. Some are typical work-y things, like sitting in on meetings, but others are a lot more fun. Today, for instance, I spent recess with the kindergarteners, getting my hula-hooping ability made fun of. They’re pretty adorable, even when they’re laughing at you.
The other part of my summer that I haven’t really touched on yet is the exploring Philly part. Going to Haverford and working at KIPP the past year have given me a few opportunities to check out the city, but I’m really excited to get to know the city better. I bought a bike on Tuesday and I’m quickly learning to navigate the city streets (lesson number one: avoid trolley tracks at all costs). I’m also taking advantage of any and all fun/weird/cool Philly events. For instance, last night I went to a “bike-in movie” on the top floor of a Whole Foods parking lot.
Tonight, my friend Kate came into the city from Haverford and we went to the Philly Night Market (www.nightmarketphilly.org/), a collection of the city’s food trucks and restaurant stands. So much good food – for dinner I had ginger lemonade, a portobello mushroom sandwich, a fish taco, and a plantain taco (yum). I took a picture, but the sandwich didn’t make it that long.
The best part was dessert, though, both because it might have been the best creme brulée I’ve ever had, but mostly because we got filmed for a new Food Channel show called “Sugar High,” starring the guy from “Ace of Cakes.” We struck up quite the rapport with him while ordering, and we were asked to sign waivers. So watch out for us. Just after we got our dessert, the sky darkened and I got hit with my first east coast thunderstorm! I spent about 15 minutes cowering in the subway station, then trekked home through the rain, hoping I wouldn’t be hit by lightning.