Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Meet KiKi

This is why I am running for the YMCA Stong Kids Campaign.  You can donate at https://www.ymcatulsa.org/supporting-the-ymca/donate-online to help support programs like the GO Club program at McClure.

KiKi, a fourth grader at McClure, was known as a school bully and a frequent flyer in the principal's office.  When I say frequent flyer, you have no idea how much time we spent together.  KiKi could lead a group of students into a "he said, she said" rumor mill with great skill.  Kiki was overweight and although other students knew better than to tease her, her self esteem was very low.  She also struggled academically.  In the middle of the winter her family's apartment at London Square was destroyed in a major fire.  The last several months of school they were relocated several times as they tried to get their lives back on track.

After Matt made his presentation to the McClure staff about the GO Club program, KiKi's fourth grade teacher emphatically recommended her.  In partnership with the GO program each Thursday the Tulsa HUB would teach the kids bicycle skills and safety.  The first time that the students actually got on the bicycles it became apparent that KiKi, school bully and one of the oldest students in the group, couldn't ride a bike! Thru the efforts of HUB volunteers (and A LOT of individual coaching by Summer) KiKi learned to ride a bike for the first time.  She even made the 6 mile ride to the Quick Trip Park as part of the culminating activities. 

Before school ended, KiKi admitted to me that she also didn't know how to swim.  She admitted to being a little nervous about summer camp and swim lessons but when I reminded her that she had just accomplished an amazing feat of learning to ride a bicycle, she grinned and agreed that she could tackle swimming too.

On the next to last day of school KiKi's homeroom class called me to meet them in the hallway.  Each student had on a t-shirt that read "I grew _____ years in reading."   Their teacher had on a t-shirt that read "we grew 2.5 years in reading."    As I praised the students, wiped my tears, and told them how proud I was of them-the entire class started saying-"Ms. Baston, Ms. Baston – KiKi grew the most."  Sure enough, KiKi was standing proudly with a t-shirt that said "I grew 2.75 years in reading."  Now this was a class of students who earlier in the year was frustrated and tired of KiKi's behavior but now couldn't wait to tell me that she had made the most progress in reading of anyone in the class.

KiKi had made huge progress in other ways as well.  Not once since she started GO did KiKi appear in my office on a disciplinary referral.  In fact, teachers and students noticed a new confidence in her and we saw her becoming a model citizen.  KiKi has returned to McClure this year.  Although we've only been in school for 4 days-we see a new KiKi.    She has already asked when GO will start!

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