Impact Stories » Kameron Berkley: 6th Grade Textual Analysis Teacher

Kameron Berkley: 6th Grade Textual Analysis Teacher

For Kameron Berkley, teaching at the Kauffman School feels a lot like coming home.

Kameron grew up near – and still lives around the corner from – the school. She became a Kauffman Scholar, a college access and scholars program for urban Kansas City students, as a sixth grader in the Kansas City, Missouri, public schools. Her initial interest in urban education, inspired by the multi-year college prep program, solidified after she worked in a local charitable organization’s after-school program, where she caught the excitement of watching children learn to read.

After graduating with an English degree from Grambling State University in fall 2015, Kameron reached out to her Kauffman Scholar coach to ask if any local schools were hiring teachers.

“Honestly, when she said the Kauffman School was hiring, I was a little intimidated,” Kameron says. “I had never taught before, and the Kauffman School hires the best of the best. But my coach encouraged me, saying, ‘You’re in that category.’”

This first-generation college student fell in love with the school during her first interview.

“The Kauffman School encourages individuality and self-motivation, and inspires both students and teachers to be the change they want to see,” she says. “In that first meeting, I thought, ‘Even if I don’t get a teaching job here, I’ll stock the shelves .’ I just felt I needed to be here.”

As part of the Kauffman School’s first Kansas City Teacher Residency program and as a member of the sixth grade team, Kameron shadows current teachers, receives in-depth mentoring and takes ownership of portions of each classroom day. By the end of this school year, she will be prepared to teach her own class.

“The sixth grade team teachers model from their hearts what it means to be a great teacher,” Kameron says. “We’re helping students change the story given to them. We’re seeing them learn what great people they are and supporting them in doing what’s needed to change their lives. Our ultimate goal is to prepare students to be college graduates, but we’re also challenging and preparing them to be amazing citizens in the community.”
Phenomenal teachers who live in the community are important to the Kauffman School. Students get those teachers’ stories. For students with unfortunate struggles, it’s inspiring to see how a teacher has been self-motivated and survived those same struggles.” -Kameron Berkley