In her first year as Academy Coordinator at G.W. Carver High School, Kristie Williams is already making great strides toward creating a one-of-a-kind educational experience for her students. “Our teachers strive to give our students real world connections to what they are learning in the classroom, ” Williams says, “We want to create a correlation between what students are learning in the classroom and how it can be used in their professions.”
During the course of her own education, Williams earned a Bachelor’s in Communications Management with a minor in English, a Master’s of Education in curriculum and instruction specialized in secondary English Language Arts, and an Educational Specialist degree in the same field. She has been in Birmingham City Schools for eight years, during which time she taught middle school English and Read 180, and also served as a literacy coach.
As Academy Coordinator, Williams coordinates activities and instruction for students in the Academy of Engineering and Academy of Health sciences. In addition to guest speakers, Carver students get to participate in a number of out of classroom experiences, such as professional tours, competitions, and job shadowing; she says, “We encourage our students to participate in competitions such as robotics and the Electrahon race because those activities use the skills they have learned in the classroom.” And in all of these activities, Williams participates alongside her students – touring hospitals, wearing hardhats, and donating blood at the Academy-sponsored blood drive.
It is in the development of work-based learning experiences that Williams has worked most closely with Ed, specifically on Bridging the Gap and the Interview Expo. “The Ed Foundation has helped to ensure that Academy students receive some amazing experiences with business industry experts throughout the Birmingham Metro Area,” she says. “All these opportunities demonstrates the commitment of so many successful professionals that want to work with our students to make them better prepared for the professions of their choice.”
Still, Williams maintains that building relationships with students is the key to creating meaningful learning experiences. “I have learned that students don’t care what you know until they know you care,” she says. “It’s very important to get to know your students’ interests and let them know you want the best for them, and position yourself as a professional and parental role model at all times.”
Ms. Williams is an important ally for children in Birmingham City Schools and Ed is grateful for her partnership, dedication, and hard work. Her working mantra, advice, and promise is to remain committed to “making decisions based on what is best for students and their growth as learners,” a sentiment that is very much shared by all of us here at Ed.