When I was growing up, my dad was an electrician primarily on commercial sites, and my mom worked nights as a waitress or bartender. Neither of these was ideal for participating in Take Your Son or Daughter to Work Day, and maybe that’s part of the reason why they were always so adamant that I go to college.
My education has allowed me to pursue my passions and make a living, and, like my parents, I hope the same thing for my girls. But what I also want to be sure they know is that though we all work for what we have, we don’t all start in the same place. Because of the sacrifices that my parents made, their grandchildren will likely grow up assuming that a college education and a middle-class lifestyle is the status quo. Because of the sacrifices that my parents made, I’ve chosen to work for an organization that aims to give the level of readiness and anticipation of success in school and life to all learners.
When I asked my oldest what she was most excited to see about where I worked, she said toys. Given her work in preschool is to play, this is a logical, if flawed, conclusion. Her little sister, not surprisingly, wanted to see the kitchen.
They both had the opportunity to color their way through a meeting where we discussed a recent assessment tool we’ve created to provide districts a clearer picture of how ready they are to begin personalizing learning for all students. KnowledgeWorks is committed to scaling personalized learning so that every student has the opportunity to take ownership of their education, to make connections with the things that they find meaningful, and to develop the skills, knowledge, and disposition to succeed in school and life. Because while my girls currently find meaning exclusively in their Duplo creations and which of the many breakfast foods they prefer, when they go to school, I want their passions and creativity to be honored. That’s what we all want out of school for all children, right?
So I can share my experiences from childhood with my girls, and how my childhood love of school has transformed into a love of mission-drive work in the field of education. They don’t have to grow up to do what I do, but I hope they’ll understand why I do it.