Village Builders: Nurturing Minds and Beyond
Year two of the Village Builder pilot program has launched with renewed vigor and purpose. At Mendota Elementary, one of our remarkable Village Builders, Turkessa Hayes, affectionately known as "TKay," has taken up the mantle. This year, her focus is primarily on supporting 4th and 5th grade classrooms. However, her approach transcends labels, aiming to empower all students in their quest for knowledge. TKay's secret? She weaves culturally-relevant examples into her teaching, creating a learning experience that resonates with each student's unique background and ignites their curiosity.
TKay’s math lessons come alive as they are translated into relatable concepts like sneakers or other facets of a student's culture. TKay understands that education should not merely be about memorizing facts but about fostering a deep and meaningful engagement with the learning process.
Village Builders, true to their name, extend their influence beyond the classroom, reaching out to families and neighborhoods. TKay emphasizes the importance of regular connections with families, ensuring they feel integral to their child's educational journey. By forging these connections, families become active participants in their student's learning, offering both encouragement and support throughout the school day.
In a new development this year, Village Builders were extended an invitation to enroll in MMSD's Accelerated Licensure Special Education (ALSE) Program, a Grow Your Own initiative in partnership with UW-Madison. This program covers graduate school education and training, ultimately leading to licensure as cross-categorical (Special Education) teachers in MMSD. TKay, already armed with a Bachelor's Degree, has eagerly accepted this opportunity and is on a path that will see her embark on student-teaching next year. Her dedication not only to the students she serves but also to her own professional growth exemplifies the spirit of Village Builders – nurturing minds and kindling their own aspirations.