As we press on with Everest Value School’s construction, we wanted to introduce you to a few more of the folks whose intense dedication to their students inspire us to build. When Principal Chris Medinger selected his team of Everest Pioneers, everyone brought unique talents.
Gaines Newborn brought the glue. Little did Gaines know 20 years ago that his work with Chris Medinger at the YMCA would translate to a charter school career. An experienced afterschool programmer, he brainstormed with Chris and realized, “The values Chris was talking about strongly aligned with my own, and his ideas really resonated with me. I was all aboard helping him dream.”
Gaines suggested a “student government plus” program. Student government could be more than just a popularity contest favoring a few. Every student could help create a school society, with its own economy (including a student bank and store), educational opportunities (tutoring and enrichment), government (with a presence on the Schoolsite Council), and a fourth estate (with a dedicated channel). Afterschool staff were integrated into the school day, so that activities, tutoring and enrichment could reinforce and extend the teachers’ lessons.
This integration provides a special advantage in the COVID-19 era. Already connected, teachers and staff easily pulled together to make sure every child gets individual attention and no student’s absence goes unnoticed. Extracurricular programs live on, too, simply in a new medium. “Where everybody knows your name” is more than a slogan – it underpins all of Gaines’s programs, whether on campus or on Zoom. Now he’s busy planning for more students in a bigger, safer space – and the future looks bright!
I look forward to updating you on Everest Value’s construction progress soon. Thank you, as always, for your dedication to Value Schools.
President and CEO