Welcome back to the POP QUIZ! This is a regular, yet totally unexpected, feature where we ask students, parents, staff, our friends, and partners to answer a few questions about what they are learning, reading, and thinking about. Today we feature Tamiko Garrett. She’s been with Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo (CIS) for three years and is the CIS Site Coordinator at Linden Grove Middle School.
A proud KPS parent, Tamiko attended Kalamazoo Public Schools as well, graduating from Kalamazoo Central High School, after having been educated at Spring Valley, Northeastern, and Hillside Middle School. She says that supporting students within the same school district she went to is “rewarding and strange at the same time…I’ll work with a kid and then quickly discover that I went to school with their parent. That connection, I think, actually helps me do my job better.”
Alright, Tamiko: pencil out, eyes on your own paper. Good luck.
What is something interesting you’ve recently learned?
I recently learned Trevon Martin’s mother is going to be in town, speaking at Chenery as part of an event that is sponsored by Lee Honor’s College. It’s March 29th and I plan to attend.
What are you currently reading?
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. I recently saw the movie. Normally, I read the book first but I decided to switch things around.
That is a great movie. Everyone needs to see it.
What made you decide to change things up?
A few things, really. Just being in America and having never before heard of these women and their incredible story, this black history, well it made me want to know more. Also, I don’t know if you’re aware of this or not, but students in after school—not just here at Linden Grove but all the CIS after school sites throughout KPS middle schools— are doing an amazing program. It involves working with NASA. It’s quite exciting for our students to be exposed to STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math] beyond the school day. Students will even be linking up with other schools throughout the country that are using this curriculum. When [CIS After School Coordinator] Jenee learned that the movie was coming out, she thought it would be a perfect opportunity to tie in the NASA project with Black History Month. She arranged for the students to see the movie and I volunteered to help chaperone.
Thinking back to your years with the Kalamazoo Public Schools, who was one of your favorite teachers?
Auga Davis. She was my first grade teacher. My older sister had her as well so I thought it was cool to have the same teacher. I still remember thinking, “Wow, this is my sister’s teacher and she’s teaching me now!” Ms. Davis recently retired from Indian Prairie after teaching 40 years in the Kalamazoo Public Schools. She was such a nice and sweet teacher. To think of somebody teaching and giving to students for 40 years. Just, wow.
What is your favorite word right now?
Tell us more about that.
Blended learning is really all about how we can customize a student’s individualized learning style with a teacher’s teaching style in order to achieve the best educational outcome for the student.
What is something you love about Kalamazoo?
The Kalamazoo Promise. I have a daughter who attends Kalamazoo Central High School. She is in the 11th grade. The Promise is such a wonderful opportunity and she will soon be able to get 100% of this incredible gift!
Can you tell us something about yourself that people may be surprised to know?
I am currently working on my Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at Eastern Michigan University. I love learning and teaching others.
Behind every successful person is a caring adult. Who has been your caring adult?
Definitely my mom. She raised three kids. She is now very hands on with raising my niece and she is helpful to me in raising my daughter. My siblings and my niece all graduated from Kalamazoo Public Schools, and my daughter will soon be joining us as proud graduates.
Tamiko, thank you for hanging out with us at Ask Me About About My 12,000 Kids!
We continue to talk with Tamiko in our soon to be released newsletter, CIS Connections. Tamiko and her CIS site team member, CIS After School Coordinator Jenee McDaniel, share insights into what it takes to work together to help students stay in school and be successful.