Kate Taylor, having gone to an all girls Dominican high school in Houston, knows the value of sisterhood first hand. “I came out [to San Francisco] for a demonstration lesson when I was applying to this position. I loved, loved doing that demonstration lesson. I remember leaving and thinking ’Wow, what a great group of girls!’ I loved how willing and open they were to share, and how thoughtful they were with their answers. I was sold!”
Ms. Taylor was coming from three years of service on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. “Red Cloud the school was great, the kids were great, but I was looking for something different.. A friend sent me the link to ICA Cristo Rey. All girls and Dominican and Cristo Rey, that ticked a lot of boxes for me.”
Kate joined our faculty just this past school year, (2019-2020 ) and her experience and creativity have been a boon to the community. “Thankfully, I’m proud of a number of things,” said Ms. Taylor of this first year at ICA Cristo Rey. “I’m proud of the development of the AP class. It’s great to see the improvements in the students’ writing because of the repetition in assessments. Of course English and Religious Studies have a piece in that improvement as well.
“The girls were gracious as I had to change tack during the year. It was my first experience with teaching an AP and as I realised something wasn’t working, I’d be honest with them and talk about how we were going to try something else. When you do that you get closer to the kids. The connection is definitely something I’m proud of. I know the students will [have done] well on their AP test.”
Relationship was evident in a much talked about project she did with her students. “The older girls would comment to me about how ‘the girls seem to really like your class, there was some instagram project?’ It was just a project in my mind and one of the options for a product to demonstrate understanding was to create instagram posts, there were other options too. But the Instagram assignment was a real win and something I’ll do again.”
During distance learning Kate has been using her creativity to focus on ways technology can be used to engage with her students. “I found a scavenger hunt that you can do with your phone. I’m going to try that out as a review tool. There is a lot out there with regard to digital educational tools that you don’t know about until you have to dig in and find ways.” Among them was Gimkit, a live learning review game that is highly competitive. (pictured here)
Ms. Taylor has also taken the time to do individual check ins with students that had more to do with connecting on a personal level than school work. “I missed the engagement. I would find out what the girls were doing, some said they were just just doing dances (TikTok) and I’d say ‘I want to do that!’ and they’d send me links to the different types and ask me to ‘please do dances!’
“It will certainly be Interesting to see what things will be like in the fall, but I can say I’m glad to be here.”