All in the family

For the Jefferson Family, it’s been nearly a decade of education at 42 Charter School
Posted on 03/16/2021

For the Jefferson Family, it’s been nearly a decade of education at 42 Charter School

The Jefferson Family and 42 Charter School are pretty synonymous. Since 2012, at least one of Kimberly Jefferson’s children can be found on the roster and on the honor roll.

“It’s hard to think of 42 and not think of the Jefferson Family. They’ve been great supporters of our school,” said Principal Jared Lamb. “We love Ms. Jefferson. She’s always active and engaged in her children’s education, and her children are dedicated students, always giving their best and pushing to be better.”

The Jefferson FamilyThe family’s legacy at 42 began with Antonio and Amon, who graduated last spring. A’Niyah is currently in 7th grade; Da’Khiri in 5th; Davien in 4th; and A’Shah is in 1st grade. 

“The whole family is motivated, and they are always on task,” 42 Science Teacher Hazel Bolds said. “Mom takes their education very seriously, and therefore the children take it seriously.”

Ms. Jefferson said she first enrolled her children at 42 because of its location but stayed because of the results and the hands-on, supportive staff.

“When InspireNOLA took over, I knew the first year was a transition, so I gave them a chance,” she said. “The curriculum improved, and I saw a big change in my children. Everything was getting better. Their grades were getting better, and the kids were doing great.”

She said she feels 42 provides a solid foundation for future success in high school for her children. 

“It’s preparing them to get into great high schools and setting them up for college prep so they can excel as they go into the next school,” she said.

Da’Khiri said she likes 42 because “it’s super nice and friendly” and added that she likes being in the same school as her siblings and being able to see them in the hall during transitions to classes. Though, she said, she has a lot to live up to.

“Antoine set a high standard I’m working to achieve and to make it higher for my little brother and sister,” she said.

Da’Khiri said her favorite classes at 42 are science and social studies.

“Science is super fun because we get to do a lot of experiments and in social studies, I learn more about the past and the Earth,” she said.

It’s no coincidence that her favorite teachers are her science teacher Hazel Bolds and her social studies teacher LaToyia Hollins.

“Ms. Bolds gives us really fun experiments like applying heat to solid matter like butter and chocolate,” she said. “Mrs. Hollins class includes funny videos and stories about the Earth’s history, and I like that.”

Two of the Jefferson Family studentsHer brother, Davien, also said science was his favorite subject.

“We get to do experiments and really see how things work, like lighting up a lightbulb,” he said. “We studied circuit flow and then got to see it happen.”

His said his favorite teacher was his math teacher Joycelyn Hall.

“I really like the way she teaches,” he said. “It makes it easy to understand.”

Hall, who teaches both Davien and Da’Khiri, said both students are incredibly bright and resilient. 

“Davien embodies the epitome of ‘if minding your business’ was a person. It doesn’t matter what’s going on around him, he remains laser focused and can answer any question no matter the distractions around him. He’s always well-prepared, and I applaud Mom for her great parental involvement as well,” Hall said. “I am honored that he actually chose me as his favorite teacher!”

Bolds said the determination the Jefferson family shows when it comes to education is encouraging for her as a teacher.

“They always try to give their best, if they don’t get something right, they want to learn why so it doesn’t happen again,” Bolds said. “Davien is self-motivated. He excels in every area in my class. He’s that light shining in the darkness. Dai’Khiri’s always on her lessons and she’s very curious. She questions things and works very hard to ensure her success.”

LaToyia Hollins called both students “shining stars” at 42.

“For the past three years, it has been a joy to teach and inspire Dai’Khiri and Davien in my classroom as I have watched them grow academically as well as socially. Every day I see a yearning and a desire from them to accomplish all of their goals they have set for themselves. They continue to believe in themselves, along with the amazing support of their family,” she said. “In the words of Kobe Bryant, ‘Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses.’ This family has been a true exemplar of this, and it goes to show that unstoppable is truly who they are.”

The children get their determination and desire to succeed from their mother, who takes an active role in their education and views the staff at 42 as her partners in preparing her children for the future.

“It takes a village to raise a child. I’m always there, for every activity. I’m very hands-on, and they are very hands-on,” she said. “They will help me when needed. They keep in contact and are always reaching out. I like that. They are always willing to work with me to ensure the best outcomes for my children.”

Jefferson said she appreciates the emphasis the school places on academics and how the staff celebrates and recognizes academic achievement. All her children who have taken the LEAP test have qualified for academic jackets, an honor awarded to students for achieving Mastery or Advanced on the annual state test.

Honor roll students“I think that’s awesome to acknowledge academic success for children, and it gives them a reason to really want to work,” she said.

“I’m proud of my jacket,” Da’Khiri added.  

Jefferson said her family has a tradition of celebrating their academic success, especially when one of them earn their jacket.

“The next day after the jacket ceremony, we go out to eat to celebrate and have some down time as a family,” she said.

Because of the pandemic, LEAP testing was suspended for 2020, but Davien said he is looking forward to being the next family member to earn an academic jacket.

“I really want one,” he said.

Jefferson said the key to success is communication: communicating with her children and communicating with their teachers and with Principal Lamb.

“We sit down and really talk,” she said. “If my children have any concerns, they express them to me, and I express them to their teacher or Mr. Lamb.”

She said she always gets a response when she reaches out to the 42 staff.

“They show concern; they don’t push it off. They follow up and ask what they can do to help,” she said.

Jefferson said she will always recommend Inspire 42.

“I love the interaction and family-oriented feel,” she said. “It’s awesome.”

Dalkhiri said if students are thinking of coming to 42, they definitely should.

“It’s great! It’s a healthy, happy environment,” she said. “The teachers are always there to help you. I love it!”