Meet. Ms. Natalie Chapman / 4th Grade Literacy Teacher / KIPP DC Lead Academy
“Every kid needs an excellent teacher. The work is hard but really meaningful.”
Ms. Natalie Chapman began her journey into education while completing an advertising and Spanish major at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. While earning her degree, Natalie was a Young Life leader, mentoring high school and middle school girls. During this time, Natalie was also a nanny in a more affluent neighborhood. These two experiences shaped her worldview of education, “I saw the differences directly based on zip code that were determining opportunities.” Following her degree from SMU, Natalie joined Teach For America and taught 5th grade at a bilingual school.
Seven years later, Natalie is still passionate about education and the relationships she’s been able to form with students. “Every kid needs an excellent teacher. The work is hard, but really meaningful.”
Natalie currently serves as a 4th-grade literacy teacher and grade level chair. She applied to KIPP DC after hearing about strong results for students and the nurturing community of staff, families, and students. The people at KIPP DC are still a powerful factor for Natalie, “They’re driven and they do what it takes for kids to get the best education possible, but they’re also fun and enjoyable to be around after work.”
Natalie also values the support she receives in honing her literacy instruction, allowing her to meet the needs of all students. She explains that the KIPP DC curriculum focuses on not only skills but also fosters a love of reading. “I love that it is an authentic investigation. They are reading to learn and applying those skills. In fact, we just finished historical fiction book club!” Through investigation and research, Natalie’s students dive into debates armed with textual evidence to support their claims.
In addition to a robust curriculum, Natalie is also able to collaborate with her peers through professional development. “We meet twice a week as a content team and dive into lessons and student work. We also have close reading dinners once a month with teachers across the network.” Being part of this larger network of peers working toward student achievement is something that Natalie values about being part of KIPP DC. Her advice to future KIPP DC educators? “You’re joining a network full of excellent educators and leaders that are going to push you. It’s not just a school, but a network that’s pretty awesome to be a part of.”
Interested in joining passionate educators like Natalie Chapman? Apply today.