October 20, 2010 18:10 Age: 4 yrs

Meet the founding principal of AF Bridgeport Academy Elementary and our 90 founding meerkats!

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Meet the founding principal of AF Bridgeport Academy Elementary and our 90 founding meerkats!

AF Bridgeport Academy Elementary
Opened: August 2010
Grades: Kindergarten (growing to K-4)
Enrollment: 85

Interview with Katherine Baker, Principal

What inspired you to want to found an Achievement First school?
I was inspired by five years of teaching and leading in Achievement First schools, including being a founding teacher at AF East New York Elementary and an academic dean at Elm City College Preparatory Elementary. I am particularly enthused about the opportunity to bring another great Achievement First school to Bridgeport, which is a city that can greatly benefit from quality educational opportunities.

What are you most excited about for the 2010-11 school year?
AF Bridgeport Academy Elementary’s mascot is the meerkat, and I am most excited about building relationships with our 90 founding meerkats. I can’t wait to see our scholars in their maroon uniform shirts, smiling, learning and having fun together. I also look forward to delivering on the promise to our families that all scholars will be reading by the December holiday.

What is the biggest challenge you are anticipating? How can the network support you?
Our founding kindergartners are wonderful, but they are full of energy and have no previous experience being serious scholars. It will definitely be a challenge to create a strong school culture without older student role models in the building. Achievement First Bridgeport Academy Elementary would love as many network visitors as possible to observe and give us feedback to keep our school culture strong throughout our first year. We look forward to collaborating with AF Bridgeport Academy Middle in particular. Our scholars have siblings, cousins and friends at the middle school, and these students will definitely serve as positive role models.

What is one idea you learned from another Achievement First school and are using at your school?
I was incredibly inspired by AF Bridgeport Middle School’s commitment to visiting the homes of all of their incoming students when AF Bridgeport Academy Middle opened three years ago. I did this as well and found it a wonderful way to get to know our scholars and families, as well as the Bridgeport community.