Kathryn Takes Brooklyn

Kathryn takes Brooklyn Written by Aleah Fedorciw

Kathryn Starke, the founder of Creative Minds Publishing, forms an impressive figure. A former classroom teacher, she is also an urban elementary school literacy specialist, a reading expert, and the author of “Amy’s Travels”. This series, and the author, are both currently celebrating the tenth year in printing and the books are used in elementary schools in over 20 countries and on 6 continents.

Through her work, Kathryn consults and presents all over the United States. While she is located primarily in Richmond, Virginia, her hometown, she has spent time in San Diego, Charleston, South Carolina, and Los Angeles. However, one place, she visits often is Brooklyn, New York. In this city, she supports a K-3 charter school, and is usually there for two days a month.

In Brooklyn, her time is dedicated nearly exclusively to a charter school that has twenty classes, grades 1-5. During this time, she visits classrooms during reading instruction, plans great, efficient, reading lessons with the teachers, and meets with administrators to plan how to propel the school forward. While she spends most of her time advising the teachers in her capacity as an urban literacy coach, she loves being in the classroom and hearing the students speak.

While she doesn’t always work directly with the children, Kathryn enjoys working with and teaching them and finds it rewarding to see their progress as they grow from emergent to independent readers. Today, she has the privilege of teaching fellow educators how to teach reading to their elementary school students. She has seen schools transition from “failing” to “fully accredited” in just one year. Just by knowing that in her position, she is helping over 500 children, ages 5-10, increase their reading growth on a daily basis in one school year instead of just a classroom of twenty students!

A K-12 teacher, one large difference that Kathryn made sure to note is the significant difference between charter schools and public schools. However, she pointed out that she is extremely fortunate to have spent her career in Virginia, a state always ranked in the top 5 for education. Since all of the state’s resources are dedicated to public schools, there are less than 10 charter schools, most of which are at the secondary school level.

In her time working with charter schools, she has found that the teachers are always eager to learn and improve. However, most are young (ages 22-24) and were not education majors in their universities. Mostly they have come from organizations such as Teach for America, an organization not really affiliated with any educational programs, schools or universities. Despite these factors, Kathryn loves helping them improve and guide them in their teaching throughout the school year.

When in Brooklyn, Kathryn chooses to stay time and time again in a boutique hotel near Barclay’s Center. In her free time, she always makes sure to see her cousin, who lives in the northern city. A graduate of New York University, he now works on and off Broadway. Kathryn always makes sure to grab a dinner with him and see his newest work.

Kathryn dedicates her time to helping improve schools and improving the standard of reading education throughout the country, and around the world, by teaching children to read via the distribution of her “Amy’s Travels” series.

Visit www.creativemindspublications.com to learn more about Kathryn’s work and like Facebook.com/creativemindspublications to keep up to date on the latest information in urban literacy education!  Pburg