Tonya Kipe's Full Story
While working for 11 years in public education, I have watched my two sons, my nieces and nephews, other family members, and my own students have gaps in their learning because the instructional materials and strategies used were not meeting their educational needs. Prior to teaching, I was also a substitute for several years. I was tired of seeing kids getting pushed through, fussed at, put in either at school "tutoring" or stuck in front of a computer completing Achieve 3000 articles for intensive reading. Behavior issues arose from the stress and feelings of inadequacy because of this the type of environment.
I wanted the ability to teach the kids in a way that makes things easier for them and teach reading and math based on science not a boxed curriculum. I wanted the kids to feel successful and not stressed from state testing pressure and allow them to get a chance to learn about topics they are or might be interested in.
One day while I was driving, the idea of starting a school came to me. I felt it was out of my reach, so I let it sit as an idea. A year later, the desire to start this journey started to weight heavy on my heart. After a few weeks, I had gathered the information needed to start planning Kipe Academy. Taking on this project would be a lot of work and I knew I needed someone I trusted to join me on this journey.
I shared my idea with my friend and former teammate, Anna Jacobs. She and I started digging into the research around the science of reading and science of math around the same time and both of us have the passion to make a change for our students.
While we got the ideas started, I found our board members Andrea Starling and Sunshine Miller. Once our board was formed, we hit the ground running with legal paperwork and planning. This is all journey, but one we are very exited about. Since I have been on this journey, I have networked with some other amazing educators that have also started a school.
As we prepare for our first location, it has come with challenges. Despite the bumps in the road, I am so full of hope and excitement, because I know I will soon be able to help and serve the Polk City, Florida community.