Jennifer Freeman, a seventh grade science teacher at KIPP STRIVE Academy is an Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education (AFAEE) winner for the 2014 school year. One of two winners today, Ms. Freeman will use the award to fund a leadership program for students who struggle with poor character choices. Freeman is one of six APS educators awarded $7,500 for innovative classroom projects, professional development and a personal stipend.
Ms. Freeman had planned to teach for a few years before entering medical school. Instead, this daughter of a science teacher stepped into a classroom and never looked back. This North Carolina native began her career in education as a Teach for America corps member in 2005. Her career in education spans nine years, eight of which has been spent teaching life science. This is her third year at KIPP STRIVE Academy in Southwest Atlanta. During this time, she has raised over $40,000 in grant money for her classroom and has made educating her life’s passion.
Ms. Freeman excelled as a Pogue Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill and now serves as the department chair, grade-level chair, and science fair coordinator and Academic Quiz Bowl team coach at KIPP STRIVE.
She embraces science but also wants students to enter the world as better thinkers and more well-rounded people. “At this point of my teaching career, I realize that character and integrity are just as important as academic success,” said Freeman. After witnessing an average of 15-20 students in detention weekly, Ms. Freeman decided it was time for an intervention strategy to help students cultivate character and leadership skills.
The Leaders for STRIVE leadership program will kick-off with a gender-based lock-in at the beginning of the semester, grow into a peer mentorship program, and culminate with a community service project by students to serve the KIPP STRIVE community.