- Daily Dose of Inspiration
- Jun 20, 2012
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Harlem Village Academies (HVA), founded in 2003 by Dr. Deborah Kenny, has generated a lot of positive buzz since it’s opening. In 2007, the double charter school was honored by the mayor of New York, who declared a ‘Harlem Village Academies Day’. In 2008 they were the first school in Harlem’s history to have every single eighth grader pass the state math exam with 100 percent.
“Kids have so much potential,” said Kenny “when you provide them with what every kid deserves, love and respect, they give it right back.” She wanted to prove that a good school can turn every kid around.
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams talked to the founder and some of the students to hear their take on why, even with all the rules, they love their school so much.
Williams asked the students what the difference was between their old school and HVA, and the responses ranged from teachers who read newspapers or watch movies in class, to fights breaking out all the time. They agreed that the teachers in their old schools just didn’t care.
In HVA, the teachers have to care. Dr Kenny allows all of the teachers to come up with their own syllabus, and expects them as a team to achieve their goals. She makes teachers accountable and by doing that “you give them respect.” she said.
The hard work has paid off. When asked who their favorite teachers were and why, one student responded “Ms Diamond, because when she taught us math in the fifth grade, she took the time to make sure that we understood everything.” That same student wants to be a scientist when he grows up so that he can help find the cure to cancer.