Testimony of Angela Iovine, Public Hearing for New Charter Schools, December 20, 2019

Good evening. My name is Angela Iovine, and I have been a teacher at Kensington Health Sciences Academy for 12 years. In these years, I have witnessed many changes, but key among them was the change to our name in 2012, which was due to our new focus on the Health Sciences. We started with a Health Related Technologies Program in 2009, added a Dental program, the first in the state at the time, in 2011, and finally, a Pharmacy program, which was also the first and is still the only program of its kind, in 2015. Clearly, our school leaders have pioneered this vision of introducing careers in the Health Sciences field to neighborhood school students for some time now. For the life span of our school, we have always understood the value of establishing relationships and partnerships with surrounding universities and neighborhood organizations. These partnerships help to provide opportunities for our students to receive authentic experience in the HealthCare field. We have also seen that rigorous instruction leading to a clear career path motivates our students to think seriously about their futures, something they may not have been able to visualize when picking a school in 8th grade. They are proud of being a member of a CTE program, and as a result of their mastery of hands on practical skills and challenging academic instruction, they begin to believe in their own potential.

At KHSA, we strive to offer our kids everything we can to level the playing field in the name of educational equity. At our school, we accept everyone. There is no application process, which can sometimes be a hurdle for struggling families. This year, I teach 10th grade English. Typically, as sophomores, students have some growing pains because the work is difficult. I tell them, as well as their parents, when I call to introduce myself, that it’s my job, my RESPONSIBILITY,  to give them the challenging college preparatory class that they would have in a more selective school BECAUSE THEY DESERVE IT. They are every bit as intelligent and capable as kids that had to apply for their seats, and they should be given comparable opportunities even if their families didn’t or couldn’t fill out an application and win a lottery. Probably the most important way that we try to level the playing field is through our CTE programs- our Health Related Technologies, Dental and Pharmacy programs of study. We introduce our kids to careers that they may have never considered, and put them on a path to success through opportunities we have created INSIDE and OUTSIDE of our school BECAUSE THEY DESERVE TO HAVE THIS AND SO MUCH MORE. With the proposed establishment of a Health Sciences Charter School in the same area of the city we already serve, we fear that we will lose valuable resources we have now  and  partners that help to make our kids, our kids in our  neighborhood high school, happy and self-sustaining members of their community. For the sake of our kids who must continue to have access to Career Technical education, DO NOT APPROVE THE CHARTER FOR THE HEALTH SCIENCES LEADERSHIP CHARTER SCHOOL.